Take Care Tuesday: Impact of ‘Vaccine Hysteria’

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This week’s Take Care Tuesday is probably going to be a bit preachy, sorry I’m not sorry in advance! It is also a two-direction look – at both children and society. The theme, as you might guess is Immunization.

Specifically, this past week I saw the image at the top (which is from the Mother Jones article) related to ourbreaks of serious diseases in places where they had been all-but eradicated by vaccine. There is a great article about it all here.

When we had kids, we headed into the pediatrician for their 2-week check-up and started the cycles of vaccinations. This is just what was done – these diseases had been all but eradicated in the US due to wide-spread vaccination. And by requiring kids coming to school to have vaccines, they prevent re-introduction of the disease.

In fact, let’s just take a quick look at how the Measles vaccine virtually eradicated measles within 5 years, including a 90% 3-year drop-off. Measles is an incredibly infectious disease with frequent complications including pneumonia and more.

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(image source)

But then along came an already-debunked report linking vaccines to autism just as the detection and treatment of autistic children was on the rise …and you get ‘vaccine hysteria’. The toll? We are seeing widespread outbreaks of these diseased in areas such as the US and UK where they were gone before. The autism link is gone – but the damage continues. From Mother Jones:

It’s no surprise that Africa has been heavily hit, but why are the United States and Europe seeing so many outbreaks? Aaron Carroll explains:

All of that red, which seems to dominate? It’s measles. It’s even peeking through in the United States, and it’s smothering the United Kingdom.

If you get rid of the measles, you can start to see mumps. Again, crushing the UK and popping up in the US.

Both measles and mumps are part of the MMR vaccine.

Use of the MMR vaccine plummeted during the aughts, as vaccine-autism hysteria was spread by charlatans and the ignorati. Needless to say, this did nothing to affect the incidence of autism, but it sure had an effect on measles and mumps. To this day, though, I don’t think any of the vectors of this hysteria have so much as apologized. It’s shameful.

This is really sad and shameful – because of who I am, whenever we let fear and politics triumph over science and safety I am outraged and affronted. We can do better than this!

That is NOT to say we should blindly accept medication … but ignoring the medical reality of the eradication of a disease compared to a potential red flag put up in one study that conflicts with hundreds of others … that is paranoia, conspiracy theorizing, or worse!

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Spill It ‘Sunday’ … Two Days Late!

I had assumed that Spill It Sunday was like Five Things Friday or Throwback Thursday … in other words, it might have started somewhere but nobody really knows. Turns out that Arman at The Big Man’s World started it … at least within the community of bloggers I run with. So, credit where credit is due! Anyway, the theme this week was TV Shows. Here we go:

We were not a 'TV family' growing up, and I don't recall as many houses with 24/7 TV back then as I do more recently. We would watch some at night, and some on the weekends, but seldom during the daytime.

-> What was your favourite TV series growing up?

Very young – I remember Sesame Street, Zoom and Electric Company

Childhood – Wild Kingdom, Bugs Bunny – Road Runner, Lost in Space, Batman, Star Trek

Later childhood – Monty Python (came to US when I was 9), Six Million Dollar Man, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Battlestar Galactica

Teen years- Star Trek The Next Generation, Family Ties, Cosby Show

Twenties – Twin Peaks, Mad About You

Thirties – Ally McBeal, X-Files, Melrose Place

-> What is your current favourite TV series?

Hmmm … tough call, but right now we watch Grimm, Supernatural, and Castle pretty regularly, and have been keeping track of Suburgatory and Brooklyn Nine Nine as well.

-> If you could guest star in ANY TV show, which would it be?

Star Trek The Next Generation – although I grew up on the original, this is always my favorite series. Love all the characters (even Wesley), the techno-babble and so on.

-> What genre of television do you enjoy the most? (Reality, Action, Drama, Comedy)

Comedy and drama … action is fine, but REALLY not a fan of most reality shows (at least those that define the genre like the ‘real world’, ‘jersey shore’ and so on). Though I DO like to watch Chopped, House Hunters, and so on.

-> Which TV series do you think should NOT have been renewed after it’s first season yet had?

The Secret Life of the American Teenager – we watched the show because of the age of our kids, and while it wasn’t great, it also dealt with the issues of teen pregancy and the impact on the rest of life … for a while. Then it became about the relentless pursuit of teen sex. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

-> Which TV series do you think deserved to be renewed yet was not?

We really enjoyed a show called ‘The Heights’ that only made it a half-season (12 episodes) … but my all-time non-renewed series has to be Police Squad! From the people who made Airplane, it is really a classic. Here is the first episode:

Take Care Tuesday: I Am Enough

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When I started ‘Take Care Tuesday’ last week, my intent was looking outward at the world in terms of the environment, looking outwards at our sphere of influence in how we deal with nature, animals and other people, and looking at ourselves in terms of health and fitness.

What I hadn’t thought about was taking care by looking inward – which is ironic considering how much I talk about the mental game of running, body image issues, and other things that involve working within ourselves.

Last week I was reminded in two separate blog posts about something I had seen shared about a year ago, so I dug it up and shared it in the comments on those posts. But I also thought it was worth sharing here – because I believe that ALL of us struggle in one way or another with our sense of self worth.

We question our value, our worth, and why it is we just can’t seem to meet the expectations that either we or someone else has placed on us. Maybe we think we’re not a good enough student or spouse or friend or worker or teacher or runner or person … but rest assured, while we are all imperfect, we ARE enough. Here is something to remember when those feelings of inadequacy rear their ugly head – read it, write your own version, and remember … you ARE enough, and so am I.

I AM ENOUGH.

I am full of sparkle and compassion. I genuinely want to make the world a better place. I love hard. I practice kindness. I’m not afraid of the truth. I am loyal, adventurous, supportive, and surprising. I am a woman. I am enough. I make mistakes, but I own them and learn from them. Sometimes I make a bunch of mistakes.

I am enough. I am open, juicy, artistic, full blast. I am also vain, emotional, demanding, and looking for answers. I am a woman who is open to mysteries, accepting of miracles. I am diving in, devouring, loving, protecting, peeling back the surface of petty desires to the hunger for connection, for belief, for truth.

I am less concerned with doing things correctly than I once was and more concerned with dancing, drumming, swimming naked.

I accept that a sense of wonder is something to cultivate. I accept that I sometimes self medicate with alcohol, with filling my life full of busyness, with going into self imposed isolation. I accept that I crave financial abundance, a freedom to do what I want, when I want it. I am still enough.

I am a lover of ripe mangoes, stars in the midnight sky, stories around the campfire, the smell of rich coffee, laughing until I can’t breathe, having someone reach for my hand. I am a lover, a sister, a storyteller, a daughter, a mentor, and a student.

I am enough.

And I know in my deepest heart– You are enough too.

This originally came from the site Stratejoy, written by Molly Mahar.

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‘Take Care Tuesday’ – Make a Resolution to Ditch Disposible Water Bottles

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I’m going to start doing a quick post every Tuesday about a small change we can all make that can add up to a big positive impact on the environment or our health or something else. ‘Taking Care’ can mean so many different things – but today I am talking about the environment.

Last night we were at a Marching Band banquet for our kids, featuring tables of snacks and desserts, coffee and water. When I was young, there would have been large coolers, one with juice and the other ice water with paper cups for coffee and cold drinks. But now, there were coolers of bottled water. And when we were leaving and taking care of our trash, I saw way too many water bottles in the trash – even though they have big recycle buckets right alongside the trash bins (THAT is a separate rant).

So we end up with loads of plastic in landfills or at recycling centers.

But wait – didn’t we also have paper plates, paper coffee cups and plastic utensils? Sure, and they are also an issue that we should try to minimize. But I have noted that people are better about making multiple use of plates at these events, whereas water bottles are ‘one and done’.

Now runners and others who exercise have a particular need for portable hydration – but for many that means buying a case of water bottles and tossing one in their gym bag. It is irresponsible and inexcusible – you know what you need and where you are going: buy a water bottle and refill it.

I have heard the ‘but I recycle’ argument again and again. Guess what? That might help with reducing plastic in landfills somewhat, but it doesn’t change the massive amount of oil, energy and plastic used. As noted here, “roughly 1.5 million tons of plastic are expended in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.”

When you think about how much a case of water costs compared to buying a decent BPA-free insulated water bottle, the return on invest comes within a couple of trips to the market.

From Greatist:

Don’t buy the bottle. Millions of tons of plastic are used to produce billions of plastic water bottles each year. Save money and lessen waste by drinking tap water from a reusable water bottle. Worried about your health? Try a water filter, or take courage from the fact that a lot of bottled water is likely no better than what’s on tap.

And while the FDA is still working on cracking down on labeling misinformation, many water bottles carry words like ‘pure’, ‘spring water’ and more that are at best misleading. In general what comes out of a bottle is no better than tap water, something proven in study after study:

The Natural Resources Defense Council, which carried out a four-year review of the bottled water industry, concluded “there is no assurance that just because water comes out of a bottle, it is any cleaner or safer than water from the tap.”

The New York City-based action group added that an estimated 25 percent of bottled water is “really just tap water in a bottle—sometimes further treated, sometimes not.”

And if you are really concerned, get a Brita pitcher or one of those filters that attaches to your tap, or a refridgerator that dispenses filtered water.

Look at the costs:
– Huge expenditure of natural resources
– Cost of water bottles
– Environmental impact of landfills

And realizing there is NO benefit … it is TIME to make the change. Make a resolution to ditch the disposible water bottle use in your life.