"We sat down and said f...ing hippies, because we were hippies about it. We used our intuition and feelings but there's no place for it. There's just statistics on disease and adverse reactions."
Stories that go viral about parenting always tweak interest because usually they share a new perspective or one that is against the grain. And then there are articles like the one circulating out of New Zealand and Australia, where there is a real lesson to be learned.
The story of young Alijah Williams popped up on my news-feed more times than I can count. His parents made the decision for him to not immunize him against lethal diseases and, at age seven, Alijah was hospitalized with tetanus, a disease that wreaked havoc on his young body, and against which he should have been immunized.
His parents are no dummies and not ignorant of what science says about the importance and safety of vaccines. In fact, his father Ian is a scientist.
"When it came to my kid's health, I let the hippie win. I should have let the science win," Williams' father Ian said.
All of the Googling and general science knowledge in the world will not and cannot replace years of research and study on vaccines and both their efficacy and safety. And yet parents consistently choose not to vaccinate children based on their own 'research.'
"Parents like us make the decision to not vaccinate on very little factual information about the actual consequences of the diseases," Williams said.
The risk of getting the diseases these vaccines protect against, and having permanent and possible lethal consequences from them, far outweigh the risk of getting the vaccine in the first place. In fact, according to the article, not one person in New Zealand has died as a result of getting the tetanus shot. In fact, according to the article, "about one in 1 million will suffer a bad reaction to the tetanus vaccine, such as painful nerve inflammation while Alijah had a one in 10 chance of dying from tetanus."
It is the height of hubris to look at science, look at statistics and look at Health Canada recommendations and, unless you have a background in science and have heavily studied vaccines in the course of your education, assume you know better. It is also a dangerous decision to make on behalf of someone who has no say, but can suffer the consequences.
It's hard to imagine as a parent saying this: "I was holding the hand of my kid who had an arched back, the muscles could break his bones at any second, and his heart could stop," and knowing he could have prevented it.
Written by Leslie Kennedy for BabyPost.com
Fact: This myth just will not die. So let's clear this up: You cannot get the flu from your flu shot. Why? That vaccine is made from a dead or inactive virus that can no longer spread its fever-spiking properties. In rare cases, a person may experience a reaction to the shot that includes a low-grade fever, but these reactions are not The Flu, Everyday Health reported. Note: Even though the flu shot cannot cause the flu, there are a number of other reasons not to get the vaccine, including for some people with an allergy to eggs or a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Fact: Unfortunately, even after slapping a bandage on that injection site, you may only be about 60 percent protected, according to the CDC. That means, yes, you can still get the flu after your shot. Some people may be exposed to the flu in the two weeks it takes for the vaccine to take effect, reports NPR. Others might be exposed to a strain not covered in the vaccine, which is made each year based on the viruses experts predict will be the most common, according to Flu.gov. (This year's batch seems to have been matched well to what is actually going around, NPR reports.)
Fact: Plain and simply, antibiotics fight bacteria, not viruses. The flu -- and colds, for that matter -- are caused by viruses. In fact, antibiotics kill off the "good" bacteria that help to fight off infections, so that viral flu may only get worse.
Fact: Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, while often dubbed the "stomach flu," are not typically symptoms of seasonal influenza, which, first and foremost, is a respiratory disease, according to Flu.gov. The flu can sometimes cause these issues, but they won't usually be the main symptoms -- and are more common signs of seasonal flu in children than adults.
Fact: Younger, healthy adults aren't among the people the CDC urges most strongly to get vaccinated, like pregnant women, people over 65 and those with certain chronic medical conditions. The young and healthy will more often than not recover just fine from the flu, with or without the shot. But protecting yourself even if you don't think you need protecting can actually be an act of good. The more people are vaccinated, the fewer cases of flu we all pass around, which in turn offers greater protection to those at-risk groups.
Fact: Mom or Grandma probably told you this one at some point, and while you might not feel so cozy if you head out the door straight from the shower, doing so doesn't exactly condemn you to bed. The only way to catch the flu is to come into contact with the virus that causes it. That might happen while you are outside in the cold, and flu season does certainly happen during cold weather, but it's not because you're cold that you catch the bug.
Fact: It's not antibiotics that cure-seekers should be looking for. While the two antiviral drugs available to fight the flu aren't a quick fix, they can reduce the length of your bout of the flu and make you less contagious to others, according to WebMD. This year's earlier-than-usual flu season has already led to shortages of one of the drugs, Tamiflu, in the children's liquid formulation, according to the medication's manufacturers. However, a number of experts in countries around the world have questioned Tamiflu's efficacy in fighting the flu, and some have even suggested a boycott until further data is published.
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