Tag Archives: medicine

This Is Why We Must Vaccinate

I saw this story on Facebook, and thought I’d let you see it yourself. You can go directly to the Facebook post here.

Riley was a 32 day old baby in Australia who contracted pertussis, which then developed into pneumonia. The story details how his last 24 hours were. It’s a heartbreaking story, and one that could have been prevented. You can view the entire Facebook page here.

Children that young cannot be vaccinated, though it appears that pregnant mothers can be vaccinated for pertussis, and the immunity is passed on to the baby. But if that’s not done, it’s important that everyone that can come in contact with a baby must be vaccinated. You see, anyone who is not vaccinated can be a carrier for a disease that could kill a baby, and they may not even know they have the disease until later. If they’re vaccinated, their body would fight the virus, and greatly reduce the chance of spreading the disease. This is part of what’s called herd immunity. This protects those who cannot be vaccinated, whether it’s because they’re too young or they have a compromised immune system. Personal or religious reasons for not getting vaccinated can endanger people.

So please, make sure your vaccinations are up to date. You may help save a child’s life and eradicate a disease.

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Public Service Announcement

Needs to be read, especially by men of a certain age. This could save your life. Comments turned off for this post, please leave comments on the original post.

Entertaining Stories

I’m going to invite everyone to re-blog, tweet, and otherwise share this post today. We all wish our posts got that much love, but this one is important. If you are a man, love a man, or maybe both, this post is important.

I debated long and hard about sharing this at all. It involves personal information, and I like to keep a bit of privacy. I had to weigh the fact that my mother reads this blog, along with at least two co-workers, against the possibility of helping someone else. Someone else won.

Popular rumor holds that a man should have certain things checked medically once he turns 50. In typical male fashion, I waited until I was 53 and 8 months to schedule my colonoscopy. This is a degrading procedure that involves shoving a camera into places that aren’t visible by design. I thought it was degrading, but…

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2015 already trying to compete with 2014 for most measles outbreaks!

Education is a very important thing to me. Using our knowledge for good is extremely important. Spreading misinformation can be potentially extremely dangerous. Take the anti-vaccination movement for example. It’s helping diseases make comebacks, such as measles and pertussis (whooping cough). The latter is incredibly dangerous for young children who are too young to be vaccinated. Herd immunity is a necessity for them. Vaccinations do not cause autism. Never been proven or even remotely linked to autism, other than by a fraudulent doctor whose research proved to be completely fabricated. If you believe Jenny McCarthy and are actively promoting what she says, you are a bloody idiot. That is all. Please read this post.

CauseScience

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Looks like 2015 is starting early with outbreaks of measles… perhaps continuing last years’ trend (see above).

Today there were reports of a potential outbreak of measles in Colorado Springs that may include exposure of ~300 people. The Colorado case is related to the measles outbreak and exposures at DisneyLand in California.

More than two dozen cases of measles have now been linked to Disney theme parks in Southern California.

The California Department of Public Health reported seven more cases on Monday, bringing the total number to 26 people in four states.

Health officials say at least 8 of those infected had not been vaccinated.

Measles outbreaks like these, and those last year, serve as a stark reminder that measles is a serious disease that needs to be continually vaccinated against. The dangerous and anti-science trend of not vaccinating children against measles and other diseases will continue to raise its…

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Living with Psoriasis

This is not easy to write.  I’m sure everyone has something that they’d find difficult to write about.  Well, this is mine.

You see, I have a skin condition called psoriasis.  It’s an autoimmune disease where the immune system misfires and causes skin cells to divide around three times faster than normal.  The immune system thinks normal skin cells are some kind of pathogen that needs to be destroyed.  Unfortunately, it causes patches of red, flaky skin.  It’s a genetic disease that is much more common in Caucasians, especially for those of Scandinavian ancestry.  My maternal grandmother’s Norwegian, so that’s probably where I get it from.  There are several types of psoriasis, but mine is the regular plaque type.  There is no cure, but there are treatments that can improve the condition or even put it into remission.  However, relapses can happen often.  It’s a mystery what causes it, but it seems to be triggered by things like skin injury or stress.  It is not contagious, so don’t worry if you see someone with psoriasis.  You cannot catch it from them.

When I first noticed my psoriasis, it was 2000, and I had a patch of dry skin on my scalp that wouldn’t improve.  Being the Internet-savvy person I was at the time, I did a lot of research on skin conditions and came to the very incorrect conclusion that it was ringworm.  I visited a walk-in clinic to get it checked out, and the very arrogant doctor told me it was psoriasis.  He gave me a prescription for a topical corticosteroid cream while talking to me like I was a child who needed to be scolded.  I had no idea what his problem was.  So, I used the cream, but it was in my hair, so difficult to use.

Despite my attempts to use it, new patches of psoriasis appeared in different parts of my scalp, almost a mirror image of the original patch.  You see, psoriasis is often symmetrical, and affects both sides of the body in roughly the same location.  I bet you didn’t know that.

It grew and grew and grew, and eventually started showing on my ears and forehead.  That’s not common.  I was extremely self-conscious about it, and did my best to use my hair to cover it up. Sometimes it improved, and I was glad it was just a small spot on my forehead.

Fast-forward a few years, and it’s 2005.  I’m leaving for Japan.  I make sure I have a good supply of shampoo that’s made for people with psoriasis, because I don’t know if it’s sold in Japan.  Well, it’s not.  This means I get my mom and sister to send me some every so often from Canada.  There are two main types, one with coal tar, and the other with salicylic acid.  The coal tar type smells a lot and is not recommended for long-term use.  It can make the skin extremely sensitive to the sun.  Awful thing for Japanese summers.  It can also increase chances of cancer, as coal tar is a carcinogen.  Salicylic acid is much gentler, and it helps break up the dead skin cells, so I won’t have a snowstorm falling out of my hair.  That’s the type I use.  It manages it, but doesn’t improve it.

While in Japan, my psoriasis worsened.  It spread.  It’s now on my legs and a bit on my lower back.  I had a patch in my armpit, but it hasn’t returned in years.  My fingernails also occasionally get it.  It’s kind of annoying, because it pulls my fingernails from the skin, so it looks like they’re about to fall off.  Give it a couple months and they’re clear again.  It’s a cycle.  I even lost part of one of my big toenails to it, but now it’s normal again.

You see, this is the kind of thing I have to contend with.  Japan’s hot and humid summers are great for my psoriasis, though.  So is exercise.  The more I sweat, the better it seems to get.  The winters are dry, so I get dry skin often.  But it was like that in Canada, too.

Psychologically, this condition has given me many ups and downs.  I’ve been very self-conscious about it for a long time.  I try to hide it as much as possible.  I tried not to wear shorts, because I didn’t want it to show.  I get comments from time to time, such as, “Why don’t you use dandruff shampoo?” and “Are you under a lot of stress?”  Well, dandruff shampoo is the worst thing I could use.  It would aggravate my skin.  As for stress, sometimes, sure.  It was triggered by stress in the beginning, as it was shortly after both of my grandmothers had passed away, and I was unable to go to either of their funerals.  I often tried to deflect these questions.

But now, I’ve come to accept my condition.  That is why I’m writing this.  I feel more comfortable about saying this, although this is still quite a difficult thing for me to talk about in person with acquaintances.  However, I go out wearing shorts.  I don’t care if people can see it.  But I also don’t get comments about it.  People in Japan are polite like this, they don’t try to draw attention to anything about a person.  I’ve accepted that there’s not much I can do about my skin in Japan, other than get some sun (UV is actually therapeutic for psoriasis), but not too much, use moisturizer in winter, use my shampoo, and dress in loose clothes as much as possible.  I can’t stop it from happening.  I hope for remission, which is entirely possible, and is often sudden and unpredictable, but I won’t keep my hopes up.

What I ask is for people to understand that while I have this skin condition, it doesn’t affect my daily life.  It is also something I’m still not comfortable talking about with people who don’t understand it.  It’s not something that can be solved by using soap or dandruff shampoo.  It’s not something that can be solved with certain medicines, changed diet, or anything like that.  The problem with psoriasis is that it behaves differently for different people.  What works for one person may not work for another.  While advice is appreciated, I have tried many things that don’t work.  I haven’t found anything that’s effective for me, either.  But it seems exercise eases it.

For those of you who have psoriasis, and are having difficulty with dealing with it, you’re not alone.  Two to four percent of the population has psoriasis.  That’s between around 140 to 280 million people around the world.  That’s a lot.  But if you need someone to talk to, go to my about page and send me a message.  You can also read this flash fiction I wrote yesterday about the subject.

I hope everyone can come away from this blog post with better understanding.  Thanks for reading.