With an Autoimmune Disease, Fear of a Measles Outbreak Is Real
Few things scare me. I mean, truly frighten me to my core. While I flee from bees and scream at spiders, I have been both stung and bitten. Scary movies, no matter how asinine, freak me out. Being alone in the dark invokes vivid imagination. Jason, Freddy, and Michael Myers. These frivolous fears do not change the way I live my life.
Then there are those that do. Among them is a predator unlike any other. Invisible yet virulent. My immune system is a perfect host for this beast to invade. I am indeed scared.
The beast is measles.
As the number of outbreaks increases, so do my fears. Measles is a highly contagious virus. It is one of the most communicable diseases and can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, saliva, or by touching an infected area. Additionally, measles is airborne, and one can catch the virus through respiratory droplets. Moreover, the virus can thrive up to two hours without its host.
We’ve gone from eradicating measles to another outbreak. This sounds more fiction thrill than factual fright. I vacillate between fear and anger as the numbers climb. I grew up in an era when there was little to no debate. You vaccinate.
In a world of preventive medicine, count me in. Prevention saves lives. I do not have the luxury of speculating about potential links. I have an autoimmune disease and am on immunosuppressant chemotherapy. My immunity lacks the ability to fight. I must do whatever it takes to protect myself.
I take issue with the right to opt out of a vaccine. I did not opt into a weak immunity. What about my right to safety? Where do your rights end and mine begin? The line is blurry for some. Not for me. There is no gray area. I see a risk. I see a threat. I refuse to take a gamble on my already-precarious health.
Imagine me on a flight seated next to your child. Now imagine your child without an immune system. Next, imagine I had a highly contagious virus for which there exists a vaccine. My refusal to vaccinate could cause irrevocable harm to your child’s health. Would you want me to do what I could to protect your child?
Would you want me to vaccinate?
I am that child. I deserve the right to live.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.