Whether it was nuclear war, avian flue with obscene kill rate, meteor strike, or 12/21/2012 when the ancient Mayan Long Count Calendar comes to an end -pick your Doomsday scenario, but whatever the case, imagine it’s The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI). The initial mass die off happened, and the survivors are forming into roaving bands of thugs or hunkered down communes of survivors. Medical help is sketchy – at best.
Doctors and nurses are in high demand, as some not-so-nice groups took physicians hostage for their own benefit, and seized what medicines remained after the cataclysm. Now you’ve learned – measles are spreading. Have YOU received a measles vaccination? Have your kids?
The debate over whether to vaccinate – or not – is now all rage. As this recent news article indicates, school exemptions from immunization requirements are on the rise across the country. Parents are becoming increasingly skeptical of the government’s mandates and skepticism is rising about possible links to asthma and/or autism, particularly with mercury content (thought few people realize that it was removed in vaccines used on children in 2001). Doctors meanwhile almost uniformly support vaccinations, saying the benefits far outweigh any risks. From the article:
“When more than 10 percent of a community opts out of vaccinations, it leaves the entire community at risk because germs have a greater chance of causing an epidemic,” said Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas, pediatrician who represents the American Academy of Pediatrics.
On Thursday, government health officials reported that the number of measles cases in the U.S. has reached its highest level in over a decade, with nearly half the cases involving children whose parents object to immunizations.
In the first seven months of this year, 131 cases of measles were reported to the CDC, compared to 42 cases in all of last year. Of that total, 112 were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status, the CDC said. Some were too young for vaccination, but in 63 of those cases the patient or their parents had refused the shots.
This is one thing when the grid is up and all is good, quite another when SHTF. More:
Two years ago, the New England Journal of Medicine recounted the case of a 17-year-old Indiana girl who returned from a trip to Romania and sparked a measles outbreak. Of 500 people attending a gathering the day after she got home, 50 were susceptible to the disease. Of those, 34 came down with measles in the next six weeks, mostly children who had not been vaccinated. Three of the youngsters were hospitalized and the cost to contain the outbreak was estimated at nearly $168,000. Only a vaccination rate of about 95 percent in the surrounding community prevented an epidemic, researchers said.
Every new parent is faced with the “to vaccinate or not to vaccinate” decision. Well, some people don’t decide, they just go along with whatever the doctor says, but a growing number of parents are thinking this through, and many are opting to have their kids NOT get vaccinated against diseases like measles, mumps, diphtheria, whooping cough and polio. Parents are citing concerns about pumping their kids immature immune systems with “known toxins”.
It’s one thing, of course, to make a decision for your own child, but what if the decision not to immunize affects other kids as well? This seems to be happening as a critical mass of vaccinations is required in order to protect the population – even those who have had immunizations. Though serious reactions can occur from an immunization, the CDC estimates it happens in less than 1 in a million doses. People aren’t trusting the government, however. This is one mother’s story (Margulis):
Margulis said she worked hard to boost her children’s own resistance to disease. She nursed two of her kids past the age of 4 and said she makes sure they eat healthful foods and get regular exercise. She believes her children’s systems are strong enough to tolerate disease — and even hopes that they’ll get the chance to gain natural immunity.
“I would love for my children to have measles,” Margulis said. “Please get me chicken pox and get me measles.” She rejects the idea that her decision endangers others. “People say, ‘You’re putting my kid at risk, but that doesn’t make any sense at all,’” she said. “If the vaccine works, I’m just putting my child at risk.”
Then the other side:
Part of the problem rests with the very success of vaccines, noted Peg Crowley, the director of the Community Health Center where Isabella Parker got her shots. This generation of parents doesn’t recall how sick a toddler can be with measles, so they focus on the very small risk associated with vaccines.
“One of the biggest issues is that parents think they’re safe to make this decision,” said Crowley, who recalls quarantines from her own childhood. “There’s no memory of the consequences of these diseases. We take our protection sometimes for granted.”
Let’s see exactly what the kids could face if they’re not vaccinated against a particular disease and they can’t access medical care in the post-apocalyptic world.
Measles (also called Rubeola): a rare – but highly contagious – respiratory infection caused by a virus. Total body skin rash hits with flu-like symptoms. The rash includes reddish brown blotchy action – everywhere. Sneezing or coughing can spread the virus through the air. It’s rare, however – due to immunizations. Prior to 1950, however, there were thousands of cases each year. The kids getting it these days (and the numbers are increasing) haven’t received an immunization. A child with measles needs to be watched carefully for fever and symptoms that could indicate other complications such as croup, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, pinkeye, and other not-so-nice stuff.
Mumps: oooooh, another nice virus that spreads through saliva. Before vaccinations (1967) 200,000 cases happened each year in the U.S. Since then it’s fewer than 1,000 a year. The upside is that once you’ve got mumps – you won’t get it again. Children usually recover in 10-12 days after a fever, loss of appetite, and swelling and pain in the parotid glands. Mumps in adolescents could lead to inflammation of the testicles (balls, nards or “family jewels”) or pain and tenderness in female ovaries and/or abdomen.
Diphtheria: bring on the bacteria, this one spreads easily and quickly mainly hitting the nose and throat. Children under 5 and those over 60 are most at risk. It’s rare in the U.S. and Europe where kids have been getting immunizations for decades, but common in other countries. People confuse it with a bad sore throat, but the bacteria leads to a thick coating in the nose and throat. This may lead to difficult breathing, double vision, slurred speech, and possibly even shock. If it moves beyond throat infection, the toxin moves to the heart and kidneys creating an inabilit to pump blood or clear waste, possibly even causing nerve damage. 40-50% of those that don’t get treated – die. Got antibiotics?
Whooping Cough (also called Pertussis): highly contagious disease marked by severe coughing that starts with cold or flu-like symptoms for 2 weeks. A fever, if present, is mild. Then the signature “whoop” in the cough is heard as the kiddo struggles to breathe and thick mucus comes out with a cough. Lips turn blue from a lack of oxygen and the kiddo becomes exhausted from coughing. A mild case may not include the “whoop” and may just last a few days. Young infants are at the highest risk resulting in seizures, swelling of the brain, severe ear infection, restricted food intake and dehydration. Pneumonia is a common complication and it can be life threatening. Got antibiotics? You’ll need ’em.
Polio: Eek! You don’t want your kid to get this one. It’s contagious and devastating. Its biggest outbreak happened in the early 1900s before the 1955 vaccinations. It’s a viral disease and actually produces no symptoms at all in 95% of cases, because they are mild cases. The other 5%, though . . . meningitis, sensitivity to light, neck stiffness, and in up to 2% of the cases – muscle paralysis and even death. The virus may case never damage in limb muscles, breathing muscles and possible paralysis.
Vaccinate or not?
Hey, I just ask the questions.
– Ranger Man
BTW: Check your state’s rate of vaccinations by going here.