Saturday 10 November 2007

Oh my God, I think it's chicken pox!

Of all the risks that keep me awake at night about my children, I can’t say I have ever felt the fear clutch my throat and say: “Oh my God, perhaps they’ve got chicken pox!”

I’m not claiming that chicken pox can never have complications, just that – if taxpayers are going to spend millions tackling childhood risk – they might look elsewhere first.

Let’s not set out in too much detail exactly who profits by the suggestion, in a report 48 hours ago, that chicken pox vaccine should be added to the controversial MMR. But no doubt we will be subjected to the usual barrage of public relations from the pharmaceutical world, explaining how chicken pox is a major risk to us all that we have never noticed before.

But there are two other very odd things about this. Why is it that successive governments have been so fixated about the risk to babies, and overwhelm newborns – or pre-borns – with advice and care, but then let children grow up in hideous concrete Bastilles, bored out of their brains by New Labour ersatz education, fed on chemicals and additives? Strange, isn’t it.

The other peculiar aspect is about immunity. I’m not a scientist, still less a doctor, but I can recognise a mega-trend when I see one, and something funny is going on about human immunity. I don’t just mean Aids or ME, but other variants of faulty immune system like asthma (one in seven children now), eczema and allergies.

I don’t know whether this is a result of more chemicals in the environment, or whether it has something to do with overloading the immune systems of babies by multiple inoculations directly into their bloodstream. I don’t know, but I’d feel a good deal happier if the government was asking the question too, instead of just bullying people into getting the jabs.

Both my children have had them. There are good reasons for that, though I wonder about MMR. I told the health visitor about my crisis of immunity theory and could see the irritation and shock on her face. The next thing I knew, the head of immunology for Croydon was phoning me up at home to remonstrate (she didn’t agree either).

But I know other doctors who are asking similar questions. I daren’t provide any clues to their identity, because I fear the government’s health police will track them down. But I’m glad at least that somebody is asking, before we add another unnecessary jab to the already potent cocktail.


Nich Starling said...

Only a handful of children die from Chicken Pox each year, but over 120 a year have severe illness relating to them getting chicken pox that will effect them for the rest of their lives because of chicken pox.

Nich Starling said...

Oh, and to describe MMR as controversial is to miselad in the extreme. It is ocntroversial because of one doctor, one doctor who has now been discredited and was in the pay of a company offering single vaccines. Go figure !

Anonymous said...

My neice's severe asthma started before she got her MMR, so I have to say I'm sceptical.

The medical profession's solidarity on this matter is understandable in light of the behaviour of people like Andrew Wakefield. And as an indirect victim of his irresponsibility (I contracted mumps in 2004 and am very aware of the potential implications of getting that disease in adulthood), I'm afraid I lack your bonhomie with the anti-vaccine movevment.

Jock Coats said...

I don't think David was making a causative link between MMR specifically and immune system suppression, rather just observing that there does appear to be a lowering of immunity in general. And, with the caveat that I am also not a scientist, and that I live as a terrible slob (so obviously believe that a bit of dirt is healthy!), I tend to think that there are questions to be asked too rather than just inventing more and more preventions.

There was that regular sketch in the most recent Harry Enfield series with the young mum, encouraged by her father, trying to ensure that absolutely everything was sterile for her baby, with the boyfriend/husband always getting in trouble with them for something "risky" like pushing the new pushchair into the house along the garden path rather than carrying it clear of all the germs that the path was home to, and having hand washing creams in every corner of the house so that they could sterilize themselves every few minutes.

Then there's the adverts that tell us that there's a million times more germs on our babies' high chairs than on the loo seat and selling us special chemical extermination kits to eradicate them. And the decline in breastfeeding, long now recognized as being a factor in passing immune system anti-bodies to the baby.

There's got to be a balance somewhere between a "healthy dose of dirt" to allow our immune systems to develop naturally, and trying to prevent/pre-empt everything chemically or medically but leaving us less strong to deal with other things.

Jo Christie-Smith said...

I have to admit I raised an eyebrow, at the cost of this vaccine versus the risk...even at 126 affected that pales in comparison compared to road accidents or, as you say, all the social ills that our children can be exposed to.

That said the distribution network is already out there, so it would be a marginal rather than an absolute cost. terms of priorities, there definitely seems to be some vested interests at work.

Miss Lisa said...

I found your site googling for chicken pox answers. My older son has about 100 spots now; he's fine but miserable.
Anyway--my oldest daughter got the vaccination (8 yrs ago) and my other three did not. My younger daughter brought the pox home--she ended up with 40 spots but felt fine the entire time. My vaccinated older daughter got them two weeks later--granted not as many spots, 10 total--and she had a high fever, severe stomach pain, head aches and barely sat up for two solid days; then she was suddenly better. Our school told us many kids who get the vaccination still get the chicken pox just not as major a case.
(My baby (who is nursing) till does not have the virus.)
One of the biggest arguments I have heard for vaccination is the fact that chicken pox is rare (thanks to vaccines) and it is dangerous to get as adults.
I personally think the vaccine is a money maker for Merk.
Great points!

Chicken Pox Remedies said...

Some say it's a mild disease, but trust me... I've seen some extreme cases and it's not something you should ignore. (Well, not like you can ignore it since it's itchy as heck...) But anyway, all I have to say is don't take it lightly and get the proper help! There's a lot of great chicken pox remedies and treatments available online.