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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Vaccine reactions

There is always a downside to every pill, medical procedure, and of course every vaccine.

I do vaccinate my sons, however I selectively vaccinate.  I don't shoot them up with every vaccine available but rather weigh the pros and cons of each (of course, this is not an option with those vaccines mandated for school entry).

With my firstborn, I took every doctor's advice and gave him every vaccine exactly on schedule... you know how it is with your first child.

I had a rough birth with my second, mainly caused by all the drugs they shot me up with (you can see here how my metamorphasis into the all natural mama began).

This caused me to do more research into medications (leading to a natural Bradley-method birth for my third son) and vaccines.

My second son also had most vaccines (I skipped the pneumococcal (spelling horrid there, I know)).  I was going to hold off on the chickenpox until closer to school entry but was talked into it by a doctor (I've since grown a much, much stronger backbone and switched to a more natural doctor).

Back to my second son.  A couple of weeks after receiving a vaccine, I happened to have him along for my oldest son's preschool physical.  At the end of the physical, I casually asked the doctor to take a look at my other son's stomach, as he had a rash.  She immediately asked if he had recently had the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.  He had, about 2 weeks prior.  It was a reaction. He basically had a mild case of the measles, which also explained his runny nose, cough, and general crabbiness.  (I now know that measles takes about 10 days to show up after being exposed - be it to another person with measles or simply vaccinated (measles is a live vaccine. Some of them are killed, but this is a live one.).  I also know that the odds of having the rash/runny nose/measles symptoms from the MMR vaccine are about 1 in 20.

So, my third son recently went in to get "shot up".  I explained to the dr. that my second son had the reaction and questioned whether this reaction was more likely to run in families.  He assured me that it wasn't known to.  However, like a hawk watching it's prey..... I kept a close eye on my youngest after the vaccination.  Sure enough, about 10 days later I saw a few spots on his face.  He also had a cold, but a few others in the house did as well.  Might be a reaction, might not be.  Too early to say.  But within a few days the spots had spread to his chest and diaper area.  And then began the worst part.  He quit sleeping well.  He began waking in the night, wide awake mind you, thinking it was play time.  It's been almost a week and the child is still waking several times a night and staying awake (also keeping me awake of course) for an hour or so.

I'm so tired!  Sorry, just had to complain for a minute there.

Anyway, back to why I choose some vaccines and not others.  Well.... my grandma lost a newborn baby during a rubella outbreak in the 1950s or 1960s.  A pregnant woman who is exposed to rubella during her first trimester will likely give birth to a baby with many birth defects.  I believe her baby (my aunt or uncle -can't remember which as she lost a baby son and a baby daughter (the other baby was born with a condition that is also now preventable due to a shot)) was born blind, deaf, and obviously had tremendous other defects as it only lived a few days.  My uncle had contracted rubella, probably at school, and exposed his pregnant mother.

Diseases that are so clearly life-and-death issues.... take pertussus (I lost an elementary-aged great-uncle to this one in the 1940s), diptheria, polio.  Or simply mumps causing male sterility.

I choose to skip new vaccines or those I don't deem life and death (I avoid the Hep b vaccine at a child's birth - I'm not a drug user and neither is my baby :-)  They can catch up on this vaccine later).  I hold off on chicken pox until closer to school age, hoping they'll catch in naturally and I won't need to immunize.  Side note: my second son (poor boy) actually contracted chicken pox in spite of being vaccinated.  No vaccine is 100%.

So now I'm back to my youngest son, who is still displaying the mild measles rash with the other symptoms and waking me at all hours.  Blah!  It's such a tough call.

I believe that some states will let you sign a religious or ethical-grounds waver for immunizations. I'm not sure if our state is one of them.  Either way, I still would have vaccinated for some diseases.  Sorry, but H1N1 is not one of them. It's just too new a vaccine and I don't believe it's life-threatening if a person's immune system is good (although some would argue this to be the case for many diseases).

I have nothing against those who choose not to vaccinate.  I completely understand their point of view.  Nor do I have anything against those who give their child every vaccine available.

To each his own. It'd be a boring world if we all shared the same brain.

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