A picture can speak a thousand words, images can shock us into action. Nothing needs more action in the parenting world today than the pro vs. anti vaccination movement. It never was an issue in the past, parents vaccinating your children was just what you did, and you did it blindly. You never questioned the doctor, you trusted in their knowledge that what they were doing was best for your children.
Now you can not go on the internet, talk to friends or even walk down the street without hearing the seemingly never ending argument on whether you should vaccinate your child or not. It does not seem to be an issue that has a middle ground. It is either black or white. You agree with vaccinating or you don’t. What has gotten out of hand is the amount of judgement and shaming placed on parenting decisions.
This article may seem very pro-vax, but it really isn’t. It is simply showing one side to the argument. There are two sides and every parent should do what they think is best, but keeping in mind the choice to not vaccinate your children is not a choice that merely effects you, it can affect the other children around you.
When a parent makes a choice to not vaccinate their children, they are not a risk to those who have vaccinated children, they are a risk to those too young to get vaccinated. There are also children who can not get vaccinated for medical reasons; they are at risk too. This is why this is such a social issue among parents everywhere. This may seem a tad extreme, but we have found 15 photographs that show the possible consequences if you choose not to vaccinate your child. This could be your child or the innocent children down the street.
Diphtheria is one of the illnesses that we vaccinate our children against. It is an infection that is caused by a bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It has many symptoms that can show up just two days after exposure, by can take up to 5 days. The symptoms can range from milder to more severe, with the first symptoms presenting themselves is a sore throat and fever. This can be mistake as a simple cold to any family.
In the more severe cases, a grey or white patch can actually develop inside the throat, which can cause a blocked airway and a barking cough. There are many more serious symptoms of this condition that the vaccine prevents your little one from experiencing. This condition is mostly airborne, which makes it very scary as your child can contract it just by breathing in the air around them. What makes that even scarier is that people can carry this bacteria without even showing any symptoms at all. In the more serious cases, it can result in complete paralysis.
The vaccination for Tetanus is included in the DTaP vaccine that children receive numerous times before they are 2-years old, and then followed by a booster at age 4. It may seem like an excessive amount of vaccines, but it is important to avoid tetanus, as you can see the pain in the little boy. Tetanus is an infection that is mostly known for some pretty violent and painful muscle spasms. Most commonly, it begins in the jaw and then slowly progresses to the rest of the body.
They usually only last a few minutes and can occur frequently for three to four weeks after. These spasms may be so severe that they fracture bones. A child who contracts tetanus may also have a fever, sweating, headache, trouble swallowing, high blood pressure and a fast heart rate. It can take months to fully recover, and 10% of those who contract tetanus die.
13 Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Pertussis is more commonly known as whooping cough, and it is another routine vaccine that a child will receive numerous times before they are the age of 2. Did you know it was also known as the 100-day cough, which gives you a little insight into how serious and lengthy this illness is. It is an extremely contagious bacterial disease. It may start off as just your common cold, with the same symptoms; runny nose, fever, and mild cough.
This then proceeds into a more severe bought of coughing fits, which may cause an infant to may a high-pitched whoop sound when they take a breath in. This can last for weeks, and has lead to hospitalization of infants. Sometimes the cough can be so severe that infants have broken ribs, vomited and are left being utterly exhausted form the effort to breath. In children under the age of one, they may not even cough, just have points where they stop breathing. Sounds like something every mom wants for their child.
12 Poliomyelitis (Polio)
The photograph for Polio may be an old one, but that goes to prove a very good point. Polio was a large issue UNTIL the introduction of the polio vaccine. This vaccine just about eradicated this disease. With the more and more hesitation to vaccinate our children, we may be looking at a come back of many illnesses. Polio is an infectious disease that causes extreme weakness in muscles resulting in an inability to move. This happens quickly, sometimes within a few hours. The weakness mostly involves the legs, but it can affect the head, neck and diaphragm.
I guess the silver lining is that most do recover from this, but not all. There is a high rate of reoccurrence later in life if a child contracts polio. Which can be even more dangerous. It is difficult to contract, as a person must ingest infected fecal matter. This makes it a larger issue in third world countries, with the infestation found in water. Still, can we ever be too careful with the health of our children.
This is the face of measles. Measles is one that we are constantly hearing of more and more cases popping up in the United States and Canada. Measles is a highly contagious infection caused by a virus. The initial symptoms usually involve a fever over 104, cough, runny nose and inflamed eyes. It gets worse from there. You will soon notice that white spots start to form in their mouth and then quickly followed by a red, flat rash.
This rash starts on the face, and then spreads throughout the entire body. These symptoms usually show up pretty quickly and can last for almost 2-weeks. In 30% of those that contract measles, they will find themselves dealing with some other pretty dangerous complication. These include diarrhea, blindness, inflammation of the brain, and pneumonia. This is another illness that is spread airborne, meaning all your baby needs to do is breathe the wrong kind of air.
Doesn’t look pretty, does it? This is the face of a baby with a bad case of the mumps. The mumps vaccine is a routine shot that is given at the age of 12 months, with more boosters to follow. It is one of the ones that is known to have the most side effects, but it is also one of the worst illnesses a child could have. The mumps is a viral disease, which means that it is contagious. The initial signs of it is a fever, muscle pain, headache and exhaustion.
This is usually followed by painful swelling of the salivary glands, which are found in your neck. There are some pretty serious complications that can come with a case of the mumps. These can include meningitis, pancreatitis, permanent deafness and infertility in males. Since it is so highly contagious it can spread very quickly in a home with an infected person. The results can be fatal for those who contract the mumps.
Rubella is another vaccine that is given with measles and mumps. It is commonly known as German measles or three-day measles. This is probably the most tamest illness to get, as a lot of people do contract rubella and show little or no symptoms. They may not even know they are sick. With rubella, a rash may start and will typically last only about three days. It will usually start around their face, before spreading to the rest of their body. The rash will not be as bright as that of the regular measles, but it can be very itchy.
Something that is very common with rubella is swollen lymph nodes, these may last a few days or even a few weeks. You may also find your little one with a fever, sore throat and some pretty serious fatigue as well. Like with all of these illnesses, you are facing some pretty serious complications. You may find some bleeding problems, genital swelling and nerve inflammation. It is most common, believe it or not, that it is easiest spread when a woman is pregnant to her unborn child. This is another condition that is airborne and usually spread through the air when a person coughs.
8 Haemophilus Influenza (Type B Infections)
This is one illness that is not that common, and that is due to the introduction of the vaccination. This condition was known as the common influenza until 1933, when they realized it was completely different that the normal influenza. There are many strains of this illness, but the type B infection is the one most commonly found in infants and children.
When an infant or child contracts this infection, it can cause bacteremia, pneumonia, epiglottitis and bacterial meningitis. Basically, nothing good. In 1990, the United States started to make this vaccine mandatory and routine for all infants. Since they have done that, the amount of cases of children contracting this illness has significantly decreases. The rate is 1.3 in every 100, 000 children. Those sound like pretty good odds to me. This number is not the same for around the world, as this vaccine is not offered in developing countries.
7 Hepatitis B
Do not adjust the colour on your computer screen, this is a little baby who has contracted hepatitis B. the baby may look like he has a touch of jaundice, but he actually has a case of the hepatitis B virus. The reason for the yellowing colour of the skin is because this virus affects the liver. During the initial infection of this disease, there are usually no symptoms. Other symptoms happen rapidly and seemingly out of nowhere.
They will get a rapid onset of sickness with vomiting, yellow skin, dark urine and abdominal pain. It can also take up to 180 days for the symptoms to appear. The Hep B vaccine is one that is routinely given at birth, with boosters throughout their life. In 25% of cases, the patients lose their life. The virus is transmitted by exposure to infected blood or body fluids. This is why it is easily transferred at the time of childbirth.
6 Influenza (Flu Shot)
Influenza, or the flu, is something that a lot of adults get every year, flu shot or not. As adults, we may be sick for a while and get better. This is not the same with infants and children. It effects them so much worse, and they do not have the immune system or strength to fight it off. That is why children are often hospitalized when they encounter the flu.
The flu shot is one that is given every year, and is encouraged by thousands (if not millions) of doctors around the world. The flu strain changes every year, so the shot changes to fight the different strain. The flu is no joke, it is an infectious disease caused by a virus. Symptoms can be mild to severe, and they range from a high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headaches and coughing. It can also causes nausea and vomiting in children, which can lead to some pretty dangerous dehydration.
5 Pneumococcal Infections
No one likes to see their child in the hospital, it can be even worse when it is something that could have been prevented with a vaccine. The pneumococcal vaccine is another one that is given routinely starting at 2-months of age. Pneumococcal is an infections caused by a bacteria. It starts in the nose and throat and can affect about 40% of otherwise healthy children.
It is a leading factor that contributes to a child developing pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis. The World Health Organization estimated that in the year 2005, pneumococcal infections were responsible for the death of 1.6 million children worldwide. It is very common to find this bacteria in a setting where a lot of children are together, especially day-care centers. This is why early vaccinating is important, and should begin before the child starts school or day care. There are children who can not get this vaccine due to medical reasons, and they can be a carrier.
4 Varicella (Chicken Pox)
This is a picture of a little boy who was not old enough to receive the chicken pox vaccine, and contracted the condition when an un-vaccinated child was carrying it. His case was very severe, and he almost lost his life. Chicken Pox is a highly contagious disease that results in a skin rash that forms into small itchy blisters. It usually starts on the chest, back and face and then spreads to the rest of the body.
Along with the spots comes fever, tiredness and headaches. The symptoms all last about five to seven days. It can have complications such as pneumonia, inflammation of the brain and bacterial skin infections. Chicken pox is an airborne disease and is easily spread through a cough or sneeze from an infected person. The introduction of the vaccine has resulted in a decrease in the number of cases and complications.
Meningitis is another routine vaccine that our children are given and for a very good reason. Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges. These are the membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord. Most of these cases are caused by a bacteria or virus. Bacterial meningitis is the rarer form, but it is the most deadly if the child does not receive the proper care right away. Viral meningitis is more common and less serious. It can go undiagnosed because it presents itself much like the common flu.
If caught soon, it can be easily treated and it is crucial to get your child vaccinated against this fatal disease. Meningitis can even cause a stiff neck, skin rashes and seizures. If an infant contracts this illness, it may cause them to not eat or drink which can lead to dehydration. It can also affect their soft spot which can be very dangerous.
2 Grieving Parents
When we as parents read a story about parents losing their child, our hearts break. We hug our little ones a little closer and pray that this never happens to us. We can not even fathom the idea or thought of something happening to our babies. When a story is paired with a video or a picture of a parent grieving, it can bring us all to tears.
It doesn’t matter what happened to the child, all our brain registers is that a child is gone, and the parents have to grieve and somehow go on with their life. When we do not vaccinate our children, this is what we may be faced with. A lot of the illnesses we routinely vaccine for can be fatal. If they weren’t we wouldn’t have vaccines for them. Even if a child survives, there may be lifelong complications, and we may grieve the life they won’t have anymore.
1 The End
This may seem to be a bit over the top or ‘dramatic’, but this could be the reality for a lot of parents out there who choose not to vaccinate their children. It is a harsh reality that a lot of these illnesses can kill our children, and forcing us to make some of the hardest decisions out there. Infant death is heartbreaking, but I think it is even more heartbreaking when there could have been something done to change or prevent the situation from happening.
When we do not vaccinate our children, and we let them play with children who are too young to get vaccinated, we are putting other people’s children at risk. We may be giving a death sentence to another family’s child, and I think we all should want to protect all the children, not just our own. There have been multiple cases of measles, meningitis, and the chicken pox killing children. If all we want for our children is to be happy and healthy, we need to do the right thing.
Sources: health.gov.au, dailymail.co.uk, kidshealth.org, Wikipedia.com