Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Defining "Normal"

That is an actual herpes virus.

I am quite tempted to close comments for this one, but that's a move I hate in other bloggers and I try not to be a hypocrite. So try to be sane if you comment. You don't have to agree with me, but be polite and be prepared to back up your claims with that little thing called science.

I was reading a story about a woman who ended up in a 10 hour standoff with a SWAT team over vaccines, as far as I can tell, but it was the comments to the story that really stood out for me. Over and over again: vaccines aren't necessary. They vaccinate for stupid shit these days like chicken pox. Chicken pox is totally harmless in children and only dangerous in adults, so if you make sure your children get it, they'll be safe.

No. Just fucking no.

The chicken pox virus, herpes varicella, is not killed by the human immune system, it is only suppressed. It hides in the base base of nerves and if the suppression fails for some reason, which it does in 50% of adults over 50, it travels up the nerve to wherever the nerve ends, usually on the skin, causing shingles. (At this point, it's called herpes zoster.)

I have had shingles 4 times, well, 3 maybe 4. Nobody's certain if what was on my labia was a severe allergic reaction or shingles, but it definitely wasn't herpes simplex I or II. Either way, I've had it 3 times on my face. Shingles is, if you are very, very lucky, excruciatingly painful for about 6 weeks. That's if you're lucky. If you're not lucky, you can end up with permanent nerve damage, leading to virtually untreatable pain.

What part of permanent nerve damage, leading to virtually untreatable pain is normal and harmless? What part of that is something you would want for your child?

Even permanent nerve damage, leading to virtually untreatable pain is lucky, in a way. If the virus erupts on the optic or otic nerve, you can end up blind or deaf. My high school clarinet teacher killed herself after an episode of shingles left her permanently deaf. She was a wonderful woman and the world is a lesser place without her in it. She, in her quiet, calm way, made high school bearable for me. She shored up my self esteem and started me on a journey to finding myself beneath all the layers of hiding my childhood created. Oh, and she was a fantastic clarinetist.

My suffering, the suffering of millions of others and her death never have to happen again. Get a chicken pox vaccine, don't get chicken pox, don't get shingles. It's that simple.

I know, I know, mercury and autism and population control and stuff I can't even begin to follow, but ask yourself something: are blown out of proportion, unscientific fears a good reason for my child to suffer? Is Jenny McCarthy really a more trustworthy scientific source than doctors and medical researchers? Hey, it's your choice, but your kids will pay the price.


  1. Thank you for pointing this out. Seriously, thank you so much. As someone who actually had a near fatal immune response to a mislabeled vaccination, I am STILL 100% in favor of vaccinations. The lives saved, the pain and suffering saved by vaccinations is beyond reckoning.

    It's so frustrating to hear people talking the way that person was talking, because yeah, of course these diseases don't seems like a big deal anymore-- they don't turn into epidemics that kills thousands, thanks to vaccination!
    The world before vaccinations? Not a place I want to live.

    Also, O_0 Fuck. I am so sorry that you've had to deal with shingles.

  2. I don’t see why you felt like closing the comments. Your post is completely uncontroversial, in that it’s nothing but pure, 100%, scientifically-minded common sense. Kudos for writing it.

    Hell, I’d even make vaccines mandatory for kids, myself, were I in charge. There really are no good reasons not to. Nada. Vaccines save lives; anti-vaccination kills babies (and others). How much simpler can it possibly get?

  3. Hell, I’d even make vaccines mandatory for kids, myself, were I in charge. There really are no good reasons not to.

    There actually are some kids who have legitimate need to not be vaccined, usually due to genuine allergic reaction or immune deficiency issues.

    That, of course, puts the onus on parents of children who don't have such issues to GET THEIR GODDAMN KIDS FUCKING VACCINATED. It's not just the health of the individual that is at stake. Get enough people vaccinated to get over the herd immunity threshold and a disease can be wiped out. Don't do that and it will be allowed to propagate. And those kids that genuinely can't be vaccinated for whatever reason? They're in danger.

    The selfishness of the anti-vax loons, in short, allows for the possibility that children will die. All because they've bought a bill of goods from a bunch of fucking liars.

  4. Goddamn anti-vaxxers. Vaccination has not been linked to autism, and there is no plausible mechanism by which the materials within a vaccine could cause autism. Preventable diseases, on the other hand, have been linked to pain, suffering and death.

    But let it never be said I"m closed-minded. In the immortal words of Tim Minchin: "if you can show me how it works, and why it works, then when I am done getting over the shock: I will take a compass and carve "fancy that" on the side of my COCK."

  5. my nephew is autistic.

    he was BEFORE he got vaccinated - because my stupid-ass sister refused to listen to ANYONE, and it wasn't until my nephew was SIX that mother got custody and could get him vacinated.

    about a month after he was vaxxed, some other kid showed up at school with MEASLES.
    at LEAST 50 kids contracted MEASLES from that one kid.

    thank every god it wasn't MUMPS - measles is bad enough. and there is NO excuse for those parents, NONE. every time i read something like this, all i can think is "your kids shouldn't suffer for your ideology - i speak out against fundy Christians, i speak out against YOU."

    a little girl, in sourthern California, who was one of those who could NOT get a vaccine [allergic to something in it, don't remember what] DIED when some irresponsible anti-vaxxer decided the thing to do, when her FOUR children - ages 2-7 - ALL had measles, was get on a PLANE with them, to Australia.


    those kids, according to the CDC, btw, also infected at LEAST 376 OTHER people, some of them ADULTS who'd either not been vaccinated for allergy reasons, or who's vaccination had "worn off".
    and some of THEM died.


    that's what anti-vaxxers cause. death.

  6. If there is a stupider creature on the planet than a creationist, it is an anti-vaccine nut. Fortunately they are usually the same people so the stupid is confined to a smaller group. I do really wish they had never been vaccinated and would simultaneously become infected with every illness they are threatening their children with.


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