Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pertussis scare

In Marian's 4 month update, I mentioned she had to be on antibiotics. This is the first time in over two years of parenting that one of my kids has needed any antibiotics (yes, I realize some of that is due to dumb luck). The reason why she was on them is important enough that I feel it warrants its own blog post: She was exposed to pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

Here's the most likely scenario of how it happened:

My parents went out to California at the beginning of January for the Rose Bowl. Someone, either on the airplane or in California, had pertussis and didn't know it, thus exposing my parents. My mom, who had her DTaP booster, was fine. My dad, who did not get his booster, came home with a cough. He didn't think too much of it, but was feeling sick enough that he went to the doctor, who prescribed antibiotics for what he thought was bronchitis or something of the like. Shortly thereafter, he came out to BFE to visit us, thereby exposing me and my family to what he later found out was pertussis.

Thankfully, we had a few things working for us:

-Jim and I have been vaccinated, and Ella has had 4/5 doses
-Marian had had her first dose of the vaccine, actually just a few weeks prior
-Because I breastfeed, Marian had some immunity/protection through me
-My dad was already on antibiotics, albeit not the ones he needed to be on to fight pertussis, but they still probably did some good

Still, despite the fact that the likelihood of her developing pertussis was low, Marian's pediatrician recommended we start her on a course of antibiotics because it can be so incredibly deadly for babies. Per the CDC:

"About half of babies younger than 1 year who get the disease need care in the hospital. About 1 out of 4 hospitalized babies with whooping cough will get pneumonia (a serious lung infection). Whooping cough can also cause seizures (jerking or staring) and brain damage."

Obviously not anything you want to mess around with.

Every time I think about the possibility of my helpless little baby getting a serious disease, I feel angry. Why? Because pertussis is almost 100% preventable.

Before this I didn't feel particularly strongly about vaccines. I get them for myself and my kids because they have been scientifically proven to prevent some pretty horrendous diseases. But I always felt, hey, if you don't want to vaccinate, that is your business.

Except now it has become my business. Angry mama bear mode is on because other people, with their selfishness, put my family in danger. The only people who are getting a free pass for not vaccinating are those who cannot for a legitimate medical reason. Not those who don't vaccinate because a former porn star and a discredited doctor told them vaccines cause autism. Not those who think vaccines are some crazy government conspiracy. Not those who talk about how there are :gasp: chemicals in vaccines (seriously, I just can't even talk to people about The Chemicals any more). Not those who believe Jesus doesn't like vaccines. Not those who argue "Well I didn't vaccinate my children and they have never had mumps/polio/diphtheria/etc."- to which the rest of the general population says, "You're welcome."

Here is where I am at now: If you don't want to get your vaccines, you are no longer welcome around my family. To all you anti-vaxxers: You are selfish, and I have no problem telling you so. The anti-vaxxers might be loud, but I am going to be louder.

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who doesn't vaccinate is a total idiot and should be throat punched. Why, for the love of God and all that is holy (like beer), would you opt out of immunity to dangerous and potentially deadly diseases?!?

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