I don’t know about you but since I’ve become a mom I can barely make sure my toenails are clipped. I like to think I’m doing alright with self-care – for the most part I’m eating healthy and exercising. I’m right on top of my daughter’s doctors’ appointments but I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw my eye doctor or had my physical done. Pumpkin has her 15 month well-baby check-up and varicella vaccination this week (note to self – book physical while there) and just like with everything else, I know her vaccinations are up-to-date. My own? Hmmm…
Here’s the thing about vaccinations. It’s so easy to feel safe from the seemingly obscure diseases. I mean, really, who do you know has been severely affected by a vaccine-preventable disease beyond the week-long itch from the chicken pox?
Me. *hand up*
Exactly 32 years ago my parents were in a panic when I was 11 months old. Pretty much overnight I had gone from a normal, healthy and happy baby to a helpless infant in the SickKids ICU in a coma. I had meningitis. Thankfully I was not one of the 10% of kids who die from the disease. But I was one of the 10% with a long-term complication as a result of the disease – I am hard of hearing. My right ear is totally deaf and I’ve got a severe-to-profound hearing loss in my left.
Scary, right? Well the good news is that our kids are now vaccinated against meningococcal disease. You better believe my parents and I wish we were so lucky.
Deciding to vaccinate my daughter was a no-brainer for me. The chances of a side effect from a vaccine pale in comparison to the chances of complications or even death from the diseases themselves.
And these vaccine-preventable diseases are still around us – in some cases all it takes is one trip on an airplane. We had a measles case in Ontario last month; it turns out the person affected was at a resort in Mexico, but who knows who came into contact with that person once they got back home?
Anyway, my point is, that while it’s great we are doing a good job at being sure our kids’ vaccinations are up to date, we can’t neglect ourselves. It’s National Immunization Awareness week, and I’m going to book my physical and go through my own vaccination records. I just don’t want to be that person who gets sick and exposes my family and friends because I forgot or couldn’t be bothered to protect myself.
Not sure which vaccines are available for adults? Information about routine vaccinations and other vaccinations for special situations (such as travel), can be found here. If you have any questions, give us a call or talk to your health care provider.
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For more information about immunizations, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:
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Read Andrea’s bio here
Hello Andrea Scott, Thanks for writing this blog. You are right. Too many of us neglect important vaccines. At the insistance of our daughter, my wife and I get the annual flu shot, without which our daughter would refuse to let us visit our grand child. Far too many individuals who travel to 3rd-world countries don’t take precautions against heppititis and other viruses. Why not? Has society become too busy for us to care for our own health? More education on this topic is required, and your articfle is a step in the right direction. Keep it up, and thanks again
Harry Quart, aka Popso
Hi Harry, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience. Glad to see that you are taking steps yourself to protect those around you, especially your grandchild. These types of conversations are so important to have to help raise awareness of the importance of vaccines.
~ Andrea Scott on behalf of HaltonParents
Thanks so much for sharing your story. My best friend in elementary school lost all her hearing to meningitis as a young child. I remember her parents recounting the desperation that they felt at that time. So glad that our kids are able to be vaccinated and protected against diseases that affected so many. Thanks again.
Thanks for sharing this Cynthia. I think it helps when we share these stories, it shows that there are lots of us out there who have been directly or indirectly affected by a (now) vaccine-preventable disease.
Reblogged this on allaboutmanners and commented:
Thank you so much for sharing the post and helping to spread the word 🙂
very good information.xxxx
my niece lost her hearing and has some brain damage due to pneumococcal meningitis. Her vaccines were all up to date but unfortunately the meningitis vaccine was not available at that time. She received a cochlear implant when she was 18 months old. Needless to say my sister and I made sure all of our children were vaccinated once the meningitis vaccine became available.
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