Chickenpox Added To The MMR – Surely That's Going Too Far Isn't It?

My youngest son has autism. He developed it after his MMR vaccination and whilst I don't believe it was the sole cause for his lifelong disability, I am personally convinced it was a contributory factor.

The main cause, I believe, was mercury and I explain why in my books.

The MMR however is a contentious issue. Many parents refuse to allow their children to have it. They believe, (rightly or wrongly), that to give three live viruses simultaneously to their young offspring whilst their immune systems are still developing is going too far. After all, have you ever heard of anyone naturally catching Measles, Mumps and Rubella (German Measles) at the same time in the real world? I certainly haven't.

However, it now appears there are possible proposals to add a further virus to the mix with the introduction of Chickenpox. Naturally, I think that really is too much but that's just my opinion. What do you think?

Chickenpox is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus and results in red, itchy bumps and blisters. It usually appears on the face, trunk and upper limbs. It is pretty unsightly and very unpleasant but is generally an accepted childhood illness. Not for much longer though, at least if some members of the medical profession have their way. As it is a preventable illness they feel it should be just that.

Chickenpox is caught either by airborne droplets through coughs and sneezes and less likely through direct contact with its broken blisters. The biggest problem with Chickenpox is you can be infected for several days before the rash ever appears and that is when you are most contagious. You might feel ill but have no evident spots, and as the infection period lasts until all the blisters have formed scabs, there is a great risk of unwittingly passing the Chickenpox on.

Generally speaking this isn't a major problem but there are certain high-risk groups for whom the virus could cause complications. Pregnant women should certainly be wary as it could harm their unborn child, and anyone with Cancer, HIV or a weakened immune system need to take care.

Chickenpox looks horrible and the itching is often unbearable. Patients are often advised to cut their nails really short and wear gloves so they don't keep scratching the heads off the blisters, which could get infected, or leave permanent scars. Sales of Calamine lotion really soar when there is a Chickenpox epidemic around.

I remember my autistic son caught Chickenpox at the age of about five or six. It was just before we were due to go on holiday and by the time we set off his little body was covered in spots. However, the doctor assured us he was no longer contagious so we proceeded with our plans.

At that point in time he had great difficulty in social situations, preferred his own company, didn't like crowds and was very sensitive to noise, so for him the timing of his Chickenpox was a real blessing. Why? Well, the only thing my son loved to do then apart from watch videos was swim, and once he stripped off into his swimming trunks to reveal his spotty little frame everyone else disappeared and he got the pool to himself. It was great!

However, Chickenpox is not to be taken lightly because although for most children it is just uncomfortable, the adult version, known as Shingles, can be incredibly painful. I remember my dad had it once and said he thought he was going to meet his maker. He had spots on his back and round to his stomach. I don't know whether it is an old wives tale or not but "they" say if the spots join up around your body you die. Thankfully his didn't.

Shingles is a very painful rash, which only occurs in people who have had Chickenpox. It is caused because once you've had the Chickenpox virus it travels down to the roots of the nerves, hibernates and becomes dormant. Sometimes, however, it wakes up and reactivates, travelling back up to the skin via the nerves. No one really knows why, but it's very unfortunate. I have a friend who gets it mildly but regularly and she associates it with stress.

Shingles is rarely serious but is contagious in as much as contact with someone who has it can result in someone developing Chickenpox. They wouldn't catch Shingles though.

Clearly, Chickenpox and Shingles are both unpleasant and everyone would hope to avoid them if possible, but I'm not sure adding yet another live virus to an already questionable vaccine is the answer. Why not just keep the single jab? (and that goes for the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines too).

The medical profession say it makes it easier to cover children for all the viruses in one go because it reduces the costs, and also the inconvenience to parents who might have to take time off work or forget to take their offspring back.

Personally, I think I'd rather put up with a bit of inconvenience. How about you?

Jean Shaw is the author of:
I'm Not Naughty, I'm Autistic – Jodi's Journey,
Autism, Amalgam and Me – Jodi's Journey Continues
Mercury Poisoning – It's Not In Our Heads Any More – Jodi's Journey Goes On http://www.jeanshaw.com/


Dogs And What Every Human Should Learn From Them

I have always been very busy, and apart from briefly having a rabbit and several tropical fish, I’ve never actually had any domestic pets. Apart from the fact my autistic son is terrified of animals which invade his space, I personally find them too much of a tie.

If you want to go anywhere the majority need quite a bit of looking after. Most, though not all require exercise, are renowned for losing their hair and smell. However, I know many people who consider their pets an integral part of the family and either take them on holiday with them or get house sitters in whilst they are away.

When I lived “abroad” that was a good opportunity for single contractors as it meant they could spend a few days in a "family home" rather than in the company provided "bachelor accommodation". I understand also, that parents are equally useful as pet sitters as they are baby sitters, but for those pet owners who are unable to find suitable surrogate keepers, the only answer is the kennels.

That's if you can afford them as they don't come cheap. I've heard people complain the cost for the pet was almost as much as the actual holiday, and they spent most of their time away wondering if everything was okay. Also of course there are the food and vet bills to consider. Having a pet certainly isn’t cheap and requires a lot of time and effort, but I appreciate some people wouldn’t be without them.

They can be good company and I can think of one woman who claims to think more of her dog than her husband. She says it is always pleased to see her and never lets her down. I suppose she has a point and I thought of her this morning when I received this e-mail. I’ve no idea if it’s true or whether some one just made it up as a nice story but it did make me think so I thought I'd pass it on.

A Dog's Purpose (from a 6 year old)

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact than animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly piped up, "I know why"

Startled, we all turned to him and what came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Live simply

Love generously

Care deeply

Speak kindly

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.