Sunday, November 22, 2009

In Which I Step on a Ledge

I'm going to step outside my blogging comfort zone a little here and write about a controversial topic. Then I'm going to click "publish post" and sit back and hope I don't get roasted.

I knew, earlier in the week, that Jonah had a little touch of something, as evidenced by the stuffy nose. No big deal, I figured. I later noticed the slight rash on his face, but thought absolutely nothing of it as he is prone to mild allergic skin reactions from time to time. I kinda runs in the family.

On Friday afternoon he was sleeping an awful lot, to the extent that we couldn't even wake him up. He only sleeps that way when his little body is fighting something off. I noticed that the rash, albeit barely noticeable, had spread all over his body. I started to put the pieces together, remembering several days ago when he mentioned that his ears hurt a little and rubbed around then and below down into his neck. Like swollen lymph nodes, maybe. I got out my Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child book and did some reading and came to the conclusion that he probably has Rubella, otherwise known as German Measles. No, it has not been diagnosed and no, I'm not taking him to a doctor. But I'm pretty sure that's what it is though who knows where he got it.

Obviously, it's a mild case, as Rubella almost always is in children, to the extent that we didn't even know he was sick.

No, he has not had the shot.

I refuse to get him the MMR vaccine, but that decision is not made lightly. I've done plenty of reading and research about it. I'm not saying this is what everyone should do, I'm just saying it's what we've chosen. Jonah is, praise God, very healthy and always gets over his illnesses with very little incident. I believe that the common childhood diseases are beneficial for the immune system, not generally dangerous (yes, I know there are exceptions!), and grant lifelong immunity, unlike many vaccinations. The diseases are also far less poisonous (in fact, probably the opposite, as illness frequently has a detox effect on a body) than vaccinations. Now, I would possibly make exception for certain things, especially tetanus (which is not an infection, but a poisoning), if I could find a way to be the one in charge and get only the shot I request without a fight. But so far, I'm not sure if that's possible.

The whole debate over "to vax or not to vax" is complicated and involved and filled with individual circumstances. I'm not going to get into all of it here and now. The main point of this post is to vent my irritation over a few subpoints.

From what I have read, Rubella is usually mild in children (I said "usually!" Yes, some kids get very ill. But that's also true of the common cold). However, it can be quite serious in adults, and devastating for pregnant women in which case a Rubella infection can cause serious birth defects on the developing baby. (In case you're wondering, my Mom is quite sure that I had it as a child, so I'm praying it won't be an issue for me. It's out of my hands, in any case.) Also, a childhood vaccination does not guarantee adult immunity.

Hm. Let's think about this a little here. Mild illness for children, serious in adults, sure immunity comes only with illness.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Doesn't it seem that it would make sense to just let kids get the disease? It's so highly contagious that it spreads easily and every unvaccinated kid is sure to get it. Most kids don't even realize they're sick with it. And then it's over. Immune for life, and fairly painless. I also strongly believe in the benefits of herbs, homopathy, and nutritional support for a sick child-- not to "cure" an illness, but rather to support the body in it's own healing efforts. I have personally experienced and witnessed some amazing cases of such supportive treatments. But our modern society has the mindset that we should be able to completely avoid pain and suffering (an idea that a Christian knows well how to refute, but that's another post) rather than deal with it and minimize as possible and simply support healing. We have immune systems, people!

And the same thing goes for chicken pox which benefits the person by giving resistance to shingles in later years (which cannot be said for the shot), not to mention forgoing the horrible possibility of getting the chicken pox in adulthood.

It just seems so insane that we should have to even run the risk of adult infection with these things that should be guaranteed in childhood. Rubella and chicken pox are becoming more rare now with the widespread use of the vaccines, so those of us who prefer not to vaccinate are backed into a corner with the risk of possibly not being able to expose our children to these illnesses at a time when they can easily recover. After all, it's not that we don't want immunity, we're just not afraid of dealing with a little discomfort for a good cause.

To me, this just shows the power of money. Near as I can tell, the medical establishment is not actually as concerned with our well-being as it is with the well-being of it's bank accounts. They can't make money from natural immunity.


  1. In your last paragraph it's "the pharmaceutical industry" not the medical establishment that is concerned about their bank accounts.

    I very well remember having measles when I was about four years old. My mom says my brother and I were very sick. I just remember that she had the apartment dark and we weren't allowed to look out the windows and I didn't understand why.

    AND we were immunized! I remember getting many vaccinations and had the scars from the shots. I remember getting the oral polio vaccine too. They'd squirt it on a sugar cube that we ate.

    You've shown the other side of the coin that I haven't thought about. A reason not to take the risk of some vaccines is that the disease is rare and someone is far less likely today to come into contact with it. On the other hand, like you pointed out, when it's rare we lose our chance at true immunity. I'm unhappy that my little boys have not had chicken pox and we have little chance of getting them.

  2. Ah, yes, "pharmaceutical industry" is what I was grasping for there. Thanks.

  3. Will not comment on the lack of immunizations, but it might be roseola or hand, foot and mouth disease. Don't you want to know? Especially if you are pregnant.

  4. I have considered Roseola, but I'm quite sure he had that when he was a baby, and the symptoms don't quite match, whereas they match Rubella perfectly. As far as hand, foot and mouth disease, the rash began on his face and moved to his trunk and extremities. He has no rash on his hands or feet or any sores in his mouth. That seems like Rubella.

    Yeah, it would be good to know for sure, but not necessary. There's simply nothing to be done one way or another.

  5. Back in the day when mothers kept careful baby books and records (Ha!) mom's would write down in the baby book when the child got a certain virus instead of relying on memory. What a concept!

  6. As far as being on a ledge on this one, all I have to say is, "You go girl!" Couldn't agree more.

  7. Both of my girls have gotten Rubella. At least I'm fairly certain it was Rubella because like you, I didn't take them to an MD. Now they won't have to worry about getting it when they are adults. It's a hard concept for people in our country to grasp-we have been told for so long that the medical community has all the answers. As you probably well remember, I used to be one of them.

  8. Me and all my brothers had something like that at some point in our life. Measles or chicken pox - I can't remember. But I can remember Mom saying that every kid gets it, so I shouldn't bawl and it'll be gone in a week.
    It was.
    Sleep is the best cure; you're doing fine.
    Oh, and FYI - my parents didn't know about not giving your baby shots, so I was supposedly immunized against that sort of thing.

  9. I'm not sure why most people are so afraid of natural immunity....

    I applaud you!

  10. thank you for this's exactly what i mean to say to people on this topic but that i can't put into words. this is the most difficult part of parenting so far, deciding about vaccinations. i think about it nearly every day, wish it could be black and white but it never will be. thanks again

  11. Glad you liked it. I'm actually still a little nervous about having this out there for all the world to read, though...

    When we make unconventional parenting decisions, I usually just don't say anything to anyone.

    I'm sure you'd doing lots of vaccine research, but if you'd like a moderate view, I recommend the Dr. Sears' Vaccine Book. Yes, it is PRO vaccine, but it has a slightly more circumspect approach than most mainstream material. If you feel the need to do some vax, the book talks about a modified schedule starting when the child is older, single doses, and which are more important to get than others (i.e. choosing diptheria, polio, and tetanus and leaving out mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and of course Hep B.) I believe it has some good information about the risks of vaccines as well. While I, personally, feel that even these may be too much for us, at least it is a far cry better from what's generally done now.

  12. When Katie (Rosie Kate)was a baby, one of our trusted health care practitioners and family friend simply advised us- if you want to vaccinate your child, at least wait until the child is older. Don't inject that stuff into your new baby's pristine immune system. So that's how we started, but we ended up never getting her a single thing. And look where she is now!