Most people know the importance of childhood vaccines. Some illnesses can really harm children if they happen to catch them. Vaccinations help prevent these viruses from running rampant and making children sick.
Of course, some parents do not think it’s necessary to vaccinate.
They feel that the risks involved with vaccinations aren’t worth the benefits. One mother failed to vaccinate her young son for chickenpox and found out just how important vaccines really are.
She noticed her son had developed some weakness on his left side. When she took him to the doctor, it was determined that he had suffered a stroke. The doctor found it was caused by complications of the chickenpox virus, which the boy likely contracted from his older sibling or another child.
Dr. Tina Tan explained that this case is a perfect example of why children should be vaccinated.
“Everyone thinks it’s a minor illness. There are a number of serious complications. Basically, the chickenpox virus infects the large blood vessels in the brain and causes inflammation in them. The blood vessels can scar, and that can decrease blood supply to the brain, which can lead to a stroke. They can have paralysis or seizure disorders. It all depends on which blood vessels are involved.”
Tan added that there are a lot of serious complications related to the chickenpox virus.
Most people have mild reactions and may only experience a fever, and lesions on the skin. Others may experience more severe symptoms, like this little boy.
“My read on this is that he will have some type of permanent neurologic sequelae (consequences) from his disease. It is possible that he might have another stroke if his arterial disease continues to worsen.”
Other doctors are also stressing the importance of vaccines. Since chickenpox is no longer a common disease, many parents aren’t familiar with it. Those who are, remember having it as a child and don’t think of it as potentially dangerous. Dr. Nina Shapiro explained,
“You can get chickenpox meningitis, which is an infection of the spinal fluid around the cord or the brain. Chickenpox can also lead to encephalitis, pneumonia, and severe dehydration. Occasionally, you can get pox lesions in your mouth that prevent you from eating and drinking. Some of these can be quite severe and turn into necrotizing fasciitis.”
Parents who are against vaccinations still aren’t convinced they are worth it.
They are afraid of the complications and risks associated with the vaccines and feel that their children are not likely to have a severe reaction to chicken pox or a similar virus.
Dr. Aaron Milstone, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Health System, explained that this way of thinking it a big problem. He said,
“The risks associated with vaccines are very, very, very small. But the anti-vaccine community is very loud, especially on social media. They generate a lot of anxiety in those who have not seen the horrors of preventable diseases. We don’t drink and drive not just because we don’t want to hit a tree with our car, but because we don’t want to kill anybody. It’s a public health decision, as is getting vaccinated.”
While most parents who choose not to vaccinate are set in their ways, this case may help parents who are on the fence about vaccinations, make the right decision.
No parent wants to see a young child suffer from a stroke. This young boy’s stroke could have been prevented with a vaccine.
Now, he faces permanent damage and disabilities and a long recovery.
If his mother had known he could have such horrible complications, she would have likely taken better precautions. Hopefully, other parents can learn from her mistake. The risks of complications from a vaccination are much rarer than those of a complication related to a serious illness.
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