Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

August 12, 2013

Reflections on Immunizations

Mineral Wells Index

— I remember as a child receiving my first small pox inoculation. At that time I was a real “scaredy cat” when it came to needles, doctors, dentists and all that jazz. Mother took me into Dr. Bruce Terrill’s office at the Stephenville Hospital where I was born. He had me sit down, and just as he started to inject me I began screaming and jumping – having a real hissy fit; and I think he told me that the needle, a tiny little thing, hit my arm about 10 times. Therefore, I have a huge small pox scar.

Now, however, I understand the necessity for such things. I still don’t like needles, or dentists for that matter, but I understand and try to do the right thing to protect my health from all those dangerous bugs out there.

And, believe me, they are out there!

At church last Sunday my friend Mary told of her 16-month-old granddaughter who was diagnosed with whooping cough just a couple of weeks ago. Whooping cough in this day and age!  

Before Mary and her husband went to help their son and his family, they checked with the doctor and discovered that their last tetanus shot did not contain whooping cough vaccine as it used to. They, therefore, went to the pharmacy and got a booster. Then they were able to go and help with the baby’s recovery. And, by the way, they learned whooping cough is a bacterial infection, treated with antibiotics, but it is quite contagious.

Several months ago I talked to a young mother who refuses to have her children vaccinated for anything. I realize there are some cons to vaccinating people – giving them a live virus or bacteria – but, you know, in the majority of cases it is life-saving, and, for that matter, it’s planet saving as well.

Whooping cough is going around! It really is, and it is very harmful to both infants and older adults.

Tetanus, also, is a terrible thing, and unless you wrap yourself in cotton wool and do nothing that might cause a cut or scrape – including petting your cat that might scratch you – you need a tetanus immunization every six to 10 years. It’s a bacteria too, and it can cause lockjaw.

Small pox and polio have, in the western world, been cut down to size by immunizations; but if people refuse the shots for themselves and their children, they are not just risking their family’s health, but they are taking a risk that the diseases will return globally. I sure don’t want to be responsible for that.

A new vaccine is that for shingles. You know about shingles, don’t you?

If you had chicken pox as a child you are carrying around the shingles/herpes virus in your body. And, let me tell you, you don’t want to get this disease.  Now, I know this vaccine won’t necessarily prevent shingles, but it will keep the case mild. I have known people who were almost crippled from shingles, and I have heard it is the worst imaginable pain. Do you like pain?  I don’t!

And now immunizations are so easy to get. You don’t have to go to the doctor or to the public health center. You can go to your local pharmacy, and the pharmacist can inoculate you! We just go down to Waddy’s and Robert or Eddie gives us our shots. You can get your annual flu shots there and pneumonia vaccines, as well!

I know shots are a pain – literally – and they cost a little, but not being vaccinated is not worth your health, is it?