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  1. Friday, January 30, 2015

    Friday Show and Tell – Something Fun and Something Serious

    Today I have two things to share with you. First, I wrote a piece for Babble this week on feeding picky eaters, based on great input from a lot of friends and bloggers. It was actually really helpful for me personally to write this as I tackle feeding Owen (who is quite picky these days!). Click here to read the article – there is some great insight!

    owen my picky eater! from @janemaynard

    I also have something a little more serious to share for Show and Tell. See that cute guy there making a perfect picky-eater face? Well, our little Owen has pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. The doctor confirmed Owen’s test results last night and now our entire family is on antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

    I am not here for a debate, I simply want to share our experience. We vaccinate our children and are firmly pro-vaccine, and yet, here we are, with a very preventable, potentially-deadly disease in our home. I am aware that the anti-vax contingency has been growing, but honestly, I thought that there were only a few small pockets where people had stopped vaccinating. Well, as I learned this week, this is not the case. There are many communities where schools no longer have herd immunity because the number of vaccinated children is too low. When that happens, these previously-eliminated diseases start popping up. California has been tracking district-specific immunization numbers since 2000, so it is a good case study of the phenomenon. Click here to see some great maps and get more info about California’s numbers. I learned that in our school district there are only 4 out of 15 elementary schools with immunization rates above 93% (the magic number for herd immunity) and our school is only at 84%. The neighboring district has 0 out of 5 schools above 93%. We live right in the middle of one of those red dots you see on all the maps. (Note: California is 39th in the country, so there are 11 states with worse numbers.)

    the growth of anti-vax sentiment in CAPhoto source: Washington Post

    In the last few weeks our community (North County Coastal San Diego) has had confirmed cases of both measles and whooping cough. My son Owen is 3 years old and has 3 out of 4 of his shots for pertussis (he needs to be 4 years old to get the 4th shot), leaving him about 15% likely to contract the disease if exposed. Sadly he was and he did get pertussis. Thankfully he is doing well and I can’t imagine how terrible the cough would have been if he wasn’t immunized (having the vaccination makes symptoms less severe). We are feeling lucky despite the fact he has pertussis, but also feeling that it is just so unnecessary that we’re dealing with this. No one should be dealing with these diseases.

    If you live in California, there is a petition for the state government to make vaccinations mandatory for all K-12 students in the public school system. Click here to sign. This month the federal government approved a pledge of $1B for vaccines to Gavi to save millions of children’s lives all over the world. It blows my mind that there are developing countries with higher vaccination rates than my kids’ school. We need to remedy that so all of us everywhere will be protected from these diseases.

    I do believe some of the unvaccinated children in the stats are, in reality, partially vaccinated. I’m really hoping that the resurgence of some of these diseases will be the kick in the pants we need to get our vaccination rates back up.

    And, as I said, Owen is doing well. The first two days of the cough were the worst. We actually went to the doctor at that point but were told it was a cold – we had no reason to think it was pertussis. Ten days later he was still having coughing fits and we also learned that there were, in fact, cases of whooping cough in town, so we went back to the doctor. Owen is being treated and is in good spirits.

    Thanks for letting me ramble. Obviously this is all I can think about right now. Have a good weekend!