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/