In this age of medical miracles and vaccinations, many childhood diseases are a thing of the past. Measles, mumps and rubella don’t claim lives the way they used to. Out of sight and out of mind, it becomes easy for parents to forget that these diseases once maimed and even killed children. They start feeling that the immunizations aren’t really important, and they refuse to have their children vaccinated. However, the CDC reports that immunizations remain incredibly important as long as the diseases exist anywhere in the world.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind and Children are at Risk
There was a time when polio was one of the deadliest diseases known to our society. Before the vaccine was available, polio killed or paralyzed thousands of children every year. In 1916 alone, there were 6,000 deaths and 27,000 people left paralyzed. When the vaccines became available in 1955, most parents were more than happy to protect their children from this deadly virus. Unfortunately, people forget how dangerous these viruses are over time.
The same disease that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children is eradicated in the United States. However, it is still present in other parts of the world. If children are not vaccinated, then they are at risk every time someone from another country steps foot on our soil to visit family or see the sights in their favorite city. Just as the early settlers decimated native Americans who had never been exposed to smallpox, a single traveler could spark an epidemic in a nation where immunizations have fallen by the wayside.
A Case Study in Japan
Those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat it. It’s important to learn from the lessons of other countries. Japan believes that they had eradicated pertussis, or whooping-cough, by 1974. They had vaccinated nearly 80 percent of the children, there were no deaths and only 393 reported cases.
Confident that this dangerous disease had been defeated, they rumors began that the vaccine was not necessary. Further, claims surfaced that the vaccine was somehow dangerous. Over the next two years, vaccinations dropped drastically. Only ten percent of infants were vaccinated in 1976, and then tragedy struck in 1979. A severe epidemic of whooping-cough claimed the lives of 41 young children. In all, there were over 13,000 children who suffered through this disease, yet the illnesses and deaths could have been avoided by continuing with the simple vaccination program.
Dormant Diseases are Always Dangerous
With the help of vaccinations, diseases will dwindle down and start to die off. In theory, they will go the way of smallpox. Since the smallpox vaccine was so effective, the disease has been eradicated on a global basis, so immunizations are no longer necessary. However, it’s also possible for diseases to go dormant. They are still there, but the numbers are so low that they don’t attract attention. Without vaccinations, the CDC reports that deadly diseases like German measles, polio, pertussis and even chicken pox would stage a powerful comeback and start claiming lives again.
Immunizations are available through local health departments, and the fees are waived if you meet certain income requirements. Even if the fees are not waived, they are usually only a few dollars a shot, making them affordable even for families on a tight budget. The temporary inconvenience of a shot in the arm or leg is far preferable than being permanently impaired or even killed by a preventable disease. Protect your children and future generations by doing your part and having your child vaccinated.
Kory Blanch, a health care professional and avid writer, reminds everyone to have their blood tested at the local labs in Dallas where you can also get more lab testing info.