There’s been so much talk about the current Measles outbreaks in Alberta, BC, and some places in the US. The constant discussion I hear is about vaccinations. We keep hearing about how vaccinations are our only way out, but this discussion is completely dismissing the enormous group of people who are already immune suppressed and what the dangers are for them.

These are the folks with Autoimmune Diseases, Cancer, AIDS, Organ transplants, and more. We, the immune suppressed, make up a fantastic piece of our population pie. Yet the media is so focused on getting more people vaccinated, they were even talking about the merit of making vaccinations mandatory in Alberta yesterday on CBC. What a load of ka-ka. Just another example of the lack of real knowledge about Autoimmune Disease and how it changes people’s lives once acquired. Why are we as a society always looking for the easy way out when it comes to our health? What about promoting healthy habits, like washing frequently, staying home when sick (instead of proving what a super hero you are for going to school or work) not touching your face holes, eating well, exercising. Too tough for us. It’s much easier to go and get jabbed and call’er done.

What about creating a separate room for either the patients who come in with obvious contagions or for those who self announce a compromised immune system…. for whatever reason. This would stop countless, unnecessary deaths and millions of dollars nation-wide on the healthcare required for those exposed and subsequently fighting for life.

A friend of mine, sportin’ the same flavour of Autoimmune Disease as myself, had to take her mom to the hospital a couple weeks  ago. She was in the waiting room with a girl who was obviously dealing with a bad stomach virus. The girl was vomiting in a bag, but she was moving from chair to chair in the waiting room, touching everything, including her peuky face and recklessly spreading her virus around. Within days my Weggie friend was in serious trouble. She has had Rituxin infusion and is on a mellower maintenance chemo and has very little immune ability to fight new invaders. She called Health Link and was completely dismissed by the nurse on the line. “Big deal you have an autoimmune disease. It doesn’t make any difference on dealing with a virus. Just drink lots of fluids.” My friend was contemplating calling for an ambulance at one point because she listened to the ignorant nurse and didn’t see a doctor.

For those who are unaware of the risks, here’s what can happen when you’re exposed to a viral infection when you’re immune suppressed.

There is nothing we can do about a virus, other than take anti-virals if the risk is too high. We do need to advise our docs either way so that if things go south, they are ready to respond in a timely fashion. A viral infection can also open the door to a bacterial infection. These are often times trickier to deal with than viral infections given the circumstances. Also the complications that are usually listed as ‘rare’ with various diseases like Chickenpox, Measles, Mumps etc., are the ones we, the immune suppressed, have to worry about. Encephalitis, pneumonia, and death among others.

So instead of wasting valuable energy on shaming people who have made a decision based on research or their health condition we should try and keep the more vulnerable in our society safe. I for one not only can’t have any vaccines and the treatment I am on has destroyed any of the immunity I had developed through my life by getting various illnesses or through vaccines prior to getting sick. Also it was the H1N1 vaccine that was the trigger for the onset of my incurable, life threatening illness that completely changed my life for the worse. Health Canada owes me one.

“The True Measure of Any Society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members” – Ghandi

How do we stack up?

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