With COVID-19 now changing for the better in the US and more people on their way to vaccination, Americans are reacting differently. Some are smart, some are not. The most important thing we need to understand is not to take unnecessary risks. Mother always used to say:“Wash your hands when you’re done”. I grew up understanding that germs cling to something dirty. Whether we went outside to play ball or wade in the creek, we had to wash our hands. We played for hours with the family dog in the dirt and with the farm animals in the barn.
Regardless of whether the water came from the stream or the well, the idea was to heat the water on the stove and use soap to keep us healthy. I think it worked fine! But we still had to do our recordings. Vaccinations have been recommended in the US since the 1940s. Most of the vaccines were for younger people who needed to have them to go to school or, in some cases, even get work. A combined vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough) was recommended in the 1940s and is recommended to this day.
The smallpox vaccine, on the other hand, was on the agenda in the 1940s but is no longer recommended as smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980 and eliminated from the United States much earlier.
A new vaccine against polio was recommended in the 1950s and has since changed but is still on the current vaccination list. In the 1970s, a combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine was added. Today only three vaccinations are required for seven diseases. Measles, mumps, and rebella need one, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis need one, and polio needs one.
The list of recommended vaccines has continued to be updated as vaccines have been developed for more diseases. The Hib vaccine (Haemophilus influenzae type b) was added to the list in the late 1980s, while a hepatitis B vaccine was added in the mid-1990s. Chickenpox (varicella) and hepatitis A vaccines have also been added.
As of early 2014, the US vaccination schedule for children aged 0 to 6 includes recommendations for the following vaccinations: hepatitis B, rotaviru, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (combined DTaP vaccine), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b), pneumococci, Polio (inactivated vaccine), influenza, measles, mumps and rubella (combined MMR vaccine), varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis, meningococci (only certain high-risk groups)
It’s hard to understand what resistance some who don’t want to get vaccinated against COVID-19 have. I mean, I didn’t want to get the vaccine as a kid, and I still don’t like getting a flu shot, but I understand that if you want to stay healthy and not spread to others, it is a necessary evil.
I never understood why people refuse to get a flu shot and then go out in public and work sick. It doesn’t take long before the entire community breaks out, and people with low immune systems often die from it. Of course, this doesn’t seem to matter to some and I find that selfish and ignorant.
As we grew up in the early years of these diseases, we understood that a clean house with clean clothes reduced the chances of getting sick. Nobody had to tell us, it was drilled into us while children listened to what they were told.
We didn’t have all of the medications available today so we relied on the home remedies. Vicks’ ointment could be smelled all over the house and we drank plenty of fluids while eating hot soup and crackers. We also stayed inside and away from others.
Times were different and many people died due to a lack of science, medicine, knowledge and access to adequate treatment. Today we must apply modern medicine and take full advantage of the world’s largest health system.
I remember how mom said “Stay away from the boy on the street, he’s got a bug.” We didn’t listen, we just kept playing and building immunity. Jumping into the Ohio River right next to the sewage treatment plant was not considered dangerous for germs. We did it every day. Playing outside was normal and we spent hours in the cold and snow and hours in the sun and the streams. We did that!
Nowadays, people spend more time indoors and don’t build immunity to colds, let alone a virus as dangerous as the coronavirus.
Here is the ball; Stay away from large crowds, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently. These are all wise in the face of a pandemic spread by virus-laden droplets sneezed or coughed by sick people.
Still, the best way to cleanse germinated hands is to wash them well with soap and water. And while the virus won’t go away tomorrow, vaccinations seem to be slowing it down. I’ve been vaccinated and I’m proud of it. Those who refuse to be vaccinated are doing a disservice to their friends, neighbors, and family.
Think back to a year when your world felt safer and a coworker’s cough was just a cough, not a fear-inducing threat to your physical and emotional well-being. When you can count on the arrival of baseball’s opening day.
There was that time before when only experts worried about the next dangerous virus that would quickly spread in global air traffic. And now we must all be concerned and take all available precautions.
From time to time we face surprising threats of enormous proportions. How we react determines how we live. We can follow the CDC recommendations and get vaccinated, or we can do nothing and see the situation get worse. It’s a choice everyone has to make. It is not a difficult choice given the positive results of the vaccinations for the other diseases.