Guest blog submitted by Amy Armentrout
Eradication of many diseases is something that my generation takes for granted and gives little thought to. Growing up, I was frequently reminded of a special cousin my mother lost to polio. Not that long ago, children were killed or permanently disabled from preventable diseases.
While vaccinations are 'controversial' in some circles, I'm grateful for the opportunity and availability of vaccinations for myself, my family and my child. I’m a veterinarian, and I know the importance of protecting the ‘herd’ in order to protect individuals. I live in an area with a large number of unvaccinated people. As a result, there is a resurgence of diseases that were recently only found in history books. Sadly, many of these children with vaccine-preventable diseases are not initially diagnosed because their disease is preventable and historic and not a common factor to consider for many doctors.
No vaccine is perfect—and some won’t completely prevent my baby from contracting a disease, but I know that if he does get the disease, his immune system will be ready to fight. It is scary being a parent, responsible for a tiny, helpless person who looks to me for protection. So I wear my seatbelt and always put him in a car seat. I keep him in warm clothes when it is cold outside. I don’t leave him unattended with strangers, and I don’t allow him to play on the floor unsupervised with dogs. I feed him the recommended foods and avoid possible allergens. I vaccinate him. I do everything in my power to protect him.
Therefore, this Thanksgiving I am grateful that we can prevent some of the more serious diseases that could severely harm, or even kill him. And most importantly, I am thankful that my child is healthy today.