why you should vaccinate children

I'll Be Vaccinating My Future Children, Here's Why You Should, Too

They'll have a sore arm for a few days, but at least they won't get polio.

353
views

Come flu season, there are several precautions that I begin taking to avoid getting sick. I was my hands as often as possible, especially when I'm at school or work where I come into contact with a lot of germs. Whenever I feel like I've run into someone who is sick, I pop a few vitamin C tablets for the following few days to help out my body. On top of that, I make sure to eat healthily and stay hydrated so I don't get worn down.

Oh, and I get a flu shot.

Why? Because vaccinations are an important part of protecting ourselves against many preventable diseases. Seasonal vaccinations like the flu shot help to prevent more of our population from suffering from hospitalizations and flu-related complications.

Vaccines are one of the most incredible medical breakthroughs we have. When you receive a vaccination, you are teaching your immune system how to fight a possible infection by training your immune cells to recognize antigens. For example, one kind of flu vaccine contains viruses that have been killed and are not infectious. Your immune system cannot tell that they are inactive, and will still treat the "invading virus" like it would a live one. Your B and T cells create a small and powerful army to engulf the inactive virus and learn from the experience. That way, if any live flu viruses enter your system, your immune system will be ready to go on offense right away.

Influenza can be scary, but we also have a dozen other preventable diseases that can be stopped by vaccinations. The prevalence of polio, measles, whooping cough and more can be lowered when we vaccinate our children at a young age.

Even if you've never heard of a case of measles occurring in your town, all it takes is one person traveling through the area to spread infection. While it is rare in our country, measles is common around the world and unvaccinated travelers can bring the disease back home with them. In the first six months of 2018 alone, a reported 107 people in 21 states were infected with measles and almost all of them were unvaccinated.

Do you care about your community? Do you want to see your friends and family stay healthy? Then having your children vaccinated can help out with that. There are certain people who unfortunately can't receive vaccines such as newborn babies and those with diseases that compromise their immune systems. They rely on the rest of their community to stay vaccinated to avoid preventable diseases from being around them. In order to protect us all, we just need to ensure the new generation gets their vaccinations.

Medical professionals are aware of the concerns parents have for their children. They know how scary it can be to put something into your child's body that you might not fully understand. They may not share the love you have for your child, but they are fully invested in seeing your child grow up healthy and strong. Before vaccines are approved for use, they undergo rigorous testing. Nothing but the absolute best passes through these checkpoints. You can rest assured knowing that each vaccination your child needs is safe and well-regulated.

One day, when I have children, I'll make sure they're as safe as I can make them. Electrical outlets within their reach will be covered, their car seats will be up to standard, and they'll wear helmets when they learn to ride a bike. In order for me to be sure my children will reach the age where they can ride a bike though, I'll be making sure they receive all the vaccinations the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends.

If I can prevent my kids from accidental electrocution and bumps on the head when they ride a bike, I can prevent serious childhood diseases. They'll still skin their knees and get in all kinds of trouble, but at least they won't get polio.

Popular Right Now

An Open Letter To The Meadville Medical Center And Its ER Staff

When did kindness become a deserved thing in the healthcare field; and only if you're not on drugs?
14646
views

Yes, that cover picture is me, coming off a ventilator...at Magee Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh, a two-hour drive from my house, not at Meadville Medical Center.

This is very difficult to write. We live in a small town, and you are the only hospital for over twenty miles. In fact, I live so close to you, that I can see your rooftop from my back garden. I can walk to you in about ten minutes if it’s not overly humid out. The Life Flights pass over my house as they arrive at and leave your facility, and my young daughter and I pray for every one of them.

My daughter had to call an ambulance on May 30th, as I had a sharp and horrible pain overtake me so suddenly, that I thought my neighbor (who I threatened to report for dealing drugs) had shot me through the dining room window at first. There was no blood to be seen, but the pain was so severe, that combined with the cold sweats and dizziness, I was genuinely afraid I was about to die.

I can’t express in words how proud I was of my girl as she explained to the 911 operator what was the matter and where we lived. She was brave and helpful as they took a blood sample, handled what I later learned was a seizure, and kindly got me into the ambulance from my difficult entryway. She called her Auntie and calmly told her to meet me at the ER. And while memories of the horrible experience I had in your ER twenty years ago still haunted me, the care and attention the ambulance drivers showed me encouraged me that I would be okay.

If only.

There were so many people, and I was half delirious with pain and inexplicable symptoms. Thank God my sister in law, Sheri, was there to help me fight for my life. For the sake of our small town and six degrees of separation, I will call them Nurse A, B, C, and D, and Doctor H. Your staff literally, unapologetically bullied me within an inch of my life.

When I arrived, it was apparently Nurse A who triumphantly announced to everyone involved in my care that I was on drugs, case closed. Despite Sheri and I repeatedly telling them that I hadn’t taken any narcotics, and I won’t take anything stronger than Motrin 800, they persisted in asking what I took. At one point I heard Sheri saying, “She does everything naturally, you're wasting time.” No one cared.

When Nurse A informed me that they needed a urine test, I told her to straight cath me, as I couldn’t stand up. It was Nurse A who told Doctor H that I faked two seizures on the way from my house (I am still amazed by her mystical powers that she could surmise this), and insisted again that I was faking everything. With utter disgust Doctor H said, “She can stand, get her up.” At Sheri’s protest, Nurse A reiterated, “If she can move her legs she can stand.” My legs, which were almost involuntarily moving to find relief from the pain in my abdomen, gave out on me when she insisted I put myself on the bedside commode. I passed out again and urinated on her.

When I woke up to Sheri frantically calling my name, I was greeted by an absolutely disgusted Nurse A, who complained that she needed to go change her clothes, and rolled her eyes at my faking another seizure. She informed everyone who came in next that I was faking these symptoms, and four attempts to straight cath me failed. In that moment, I was sure I was going to die.

Everything after that came in blurry and fragmented vignettes, like an awful out of body experience. There were Nurses B through D or more, all repeatedly asking me what drugs I took. Everyone scowled and frowned, passing on the information that I was faking everything. There were four of these nurses when I woke up on the way to a scan, and all but one asking me what drugs I took, and telling me to stop faking as I hysterically screamed that I could not breathe when I lay flat. I was terrified, confused, out of my mind, and unable to breathe when I lay flat, and they reported that “she hyperventilated herself” in the scan lab.

All the while, Sheri valiantly insisted they would find no drugs in the blood work, and that I probably hadn’t been to a family doctor in years. I lay in your ER cubicle and reconciled myself to God, convinced that I was going to die and be labeled a drug addict.

At some point, something shifted, and suddenly I received the blanket I had asked for hours before. Apparently, my temperature had dropped so low, their fancy thermometers couldn’t read anything. I remember a young man trying to find a vein and saying, “Oh my God, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m not trying again.” My head was elevated, and the panic of not being able to breathe alleviated somewhat.

Suddenly Doctor H was almost kind, and I heard him telling Sheri something about “a mass” and “blood in her abdomen” and how some other hospital was better equipped to help me. She told me she okay-ed it, and I recall telling her, “I trust you. Just get me out of here.”

In fact, knowing someone else would care for me gave me such peace, that I literally lay completely still as an older man inserted an IV line into my neck with no anesthesia.

We assume the blood work came back and the scan verified what we desperately tried to tell everyone from the beginning; I wasn’t on or seeking drugs. But there was no apology from Nurse A, her fellow nurses, or Doctor H. I may be corrected, but I spent five or six hours in your ER defending myself to the same people who should have been fighting for my life.

As I lay there, talking to Yeshuale, three people in what looked like tactical suits came alongside my bed. The first was a woman who looked like she was speaking into a walkie talkie. Behind her two men. I thought to myself “Oh, state cops. I guess I’m just going to die in prison.” I was so out of it, confused and weary of being asked what drugs I took, I believed your ER staff had called the police and they had come to take me away. All I could think of was what would become of my young daughter.

Thank God, I was mistaken. The blonde woman wasn’t a police officer, but part of the helicopter team, on the phone with Magee in Pittsburgh so she could begin administering blood to me. Blood. Something your staff considered less important than accusing me of using and seeking some weird drugs. Behind her, a tall, blonde man smiled at me and explained that he was taking me in a helicopter and I would be fine. It was like hearing from an angel, and I remember saying, “Todah, Yeshuale!” repeatedly in my head and in a whisper. “Thank You, Jesus!”

Four blocks away, my daughter and the friend she was staying with waved as we flew over my house.

To my surprise, I woke up two days later, attached to a ventilator, one of my sister friends sitting beside my bed. I learned that I’d had two masses in my uterus, which tore itself open and bled into my abdomen. I’d lost four liters of blood and had a transfusion in the Life Flight. When they took the vent out, (my friend took the picture above) I made a joke about being a tough Jersey girl as I signed to the ICU nurse, but inside I was an emotional wreck. Still, as the days went on, I determined to treat everyone with kindness, and was treated the same way at every turn.

Kindness. The one thing I never received from your staff.

What was so special about me that your staff felt interrogating me about my apparent drug use was more important than helping me? My address? Because for some reason all the drug dealers in town seem to want to take over my block? So, we’re all on drugs, then? Do you realize that half my neighbors brag about going to your ER to get pain pills, and how easy it is? I never asked for anything but a Tylenol, and that was on the Life Flight. So, again I ask, what made me so unique?

And, I must say, it’s not even that your staff didn’t believe me. They were mean, hateful even. Rolling their eyes, talking about me like I wasn’t there, saying everything I did was a ruse to get drugs. When did it become okay to treat anyone like that? How was it alright for your nurse to walk in and determine that I was on drugs? How was it alright for her to set the tone of disbelief, unkindness, and abuse? How was it alright for the doctor to allow this and roll with it?

Yes, I said abuse. When someone is screaming that they can’t breathe and you tell them to stop faking, that is abuse. When you berate someone, and accuse them of something to the point where they believe they’re being taken to jail to die, that’s abuse. When you refuse to give someone a blanket, hold them down to the point where they’re bruised, that’s abuse. When you waste time to the point where an ambulance won’t get to the next hospital fast enough… that’s abuse. Your staff verbally, emotionally, and physically abused me.

Not only were they abusive, but they were comfortable with it. Your staff was comfortable with it, and didn’t care what it would cost me or my family. All but one nurse, who Sheri now tells me insisted that there was something wrong with me and took me for the scan. That nurse saved my life. People are comfortable with abuse because they get away with it. Abusers get smug, arrogant and even careless, because those they abuse say nothing. Your staff was smug, rude and uncaring to the point that they displayed a sick sort of disgust for me that was completely obvious. My sister in law later confirmed to me that it wasn’t all in my head.

At what point did this behavior become acceptable? Is it because you’re the only hospital for a 30-minute drive?

And, so what if I had been seeking drugs or high on some unknown concoction? Would that have made it okay for your staff to treat me thusly? Would Nurse A have been justified in declaring my altered state and treating me like garbage? Would Doctor H have been justified in how he treated me? When did nursing and healing give anyone that sort of power? When did people cease to be worthy of kindness, quality health care and gentleness based upon their drug use, or the address they live at?

When did you decide who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and who does not? When did your medical staff earn that right to decide also?

If we’re completely honest, most of the people I know who abuse pills go to your ER at least once bimonthly to get refills. Your ER physicians pass out opioid scripts like candy and then mistreat the people they’re supplying? Thanks to you, I must hide the pain medication I loathe to take now, because someone will surely break in to my home and steal them if they know I have them. You, and other hospitals like you, are feeding addicts and creating innocent bystander victims like me, but that’s another conversation.

This is difficult to write, because you have your hooks in all over this town. This is difficult to write, because the trauma of that night is still fresh in my mind, and I often cry when I think about it. This is difficult to write, because the reality that I have had to now teach my child to ask any ambulance we ever need to call again to take us to Erie shouldn’t be necessary. This is difficult to write, but it needs to be said, especially since I’ve been finding out that I’m not the only person this has happened to.

You need to address these issues. You need to stop handing out scripts like promotional coupons, and perhaps you won’t have nurses and doctors assuming everyone’s on drugs or seeking them. You need to discourage the abusive and toxic behavior of your staff, and hold them accountable when patients complain. Let me put this into perspective for you: I’m pretty sure Nurse A is the same age as my oldest daughter, and my child would eat mud before she treated anyone like that. Why? Because my kids were never allowed to behave that way in the first place, but to stay on topic, she grew up with consequences, and as an adult still recognizes their severity.

As the events of that night become clearer to me, and I continue my peaceful, miraculous recovery at home, I am determined not to hold on to bitterness about what happened to me at your ER. I am determined to make the most of the second chance at life I’ve been given, and leave your abusive staff in the past. I’ll probably pass some of them in the super market, or sit behind them in church, our town is so small. And while you and your toxic staff will cease to haunt my future, I will surely haunt yours. Nurse A, Doctor H, and Nurses B through whatever… will never forget the night the woman with the blue hair nearly died because they were too busy wrongly judging to actually care.

I am determined to walk out the rest of my life in kindness, the very discussion I had in a blackout with God while your nurse accused me of faking a seizure. I will pray, hoping with all hope that kindness will once again be requisite for employment in your ER and every area of your corporation. Believe me, it’s possible and good for profits. The entire time I spent in Pittsburgh at Magee I never encountered a single unkind staff member from the surgeons to the housekeepers.

I know you can do it.

Cover Image Credit: Heidi Owens

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

22 Times Mom And Dad Were Right, Even If I Hate To Admit Being Wrong

You have always been there for me, no matter what, and I appreciate it with my whole heart.

597
views

I have been blessed with two amazing parents. Since the day I was born, they were always there to support me in the big ways and the small ways — from always cheering me on at my volleyball games to sending me care packages at school to calling me for encouragement before an interview to sending me daily "good morning, have a good day" messages.

The lessons that they have taught me in my 22 years on this beautiful earth have not gone unnoticed, even though I may not have always listened to them.

1. When they told me that I will never disappoint them, as long as I am trying my best.

2. When they told me that I deserve to be treated with respect.

3. When they told me that I would survive heartbreak.

4. When they told me that some friends are not life-long friends. 

5. When they told me to bring a jacket whenever I go out.

6. When they told me that growing up is not all fun and games and to enjoy the present moment.

7. When they told me that some people in life are just, well, mean and bitter. 

8. When they told me that it is okay to take time for myself and to put myself first sometimes.

9. When they told me that people need to earn my trust. 

10. When they told me that God has a plan, even though it may not be the same as my plan.

11. When they told me to treat others the way I want to be treated, even if they treated me poorly.

12. When they told me to always send a thank you note, email, text message, or phone call.

13. When they told me that honesty is the best policy and that karma will bite me in the butt.

14. When they told me to be humble, but to be proud of my successes. 

15. When they told me to love my body and my brain just the way they are.

16. When they told me to find my passion and to follow it with all of my heart.

17. When they told me to think before I speak so that I do not say anything that I will regret.

18. When they told me I would survive, even when I thought something was the end of the world.

19. When they told me to learn from my failures instead of ignoring them. 

20. When they told me to stand by my beliefs, even if that meant standing alone.

21. When they told me that small gestures go a long way. 

22. When they told me that they will always love me, even when I am being stubborn or mean or disrespectful or annoying. 

Thank you, Mommy and Daddy. I love you so much.

Related Content

Facebook Comments