Prevention is the best medicine.
There are 212 cases of mumps in central Ohio as of Monday, and undoubtedly those numbers will increase over the next few days.
The sick range in age from 9 months to 70 years old and 132 of these people attend or work at Ohio State University.
Mumps starts with fever, fatigue and body aches, which are also symptoms of influenza. Those infected are urged to stay home, cover their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and frequently wash hands.
Mumps results in swelling of the glands in the neck or also in males, testicular swelling.
Sometimes, although rare, complications like deafness and brain swelling occur, or in teenage males, infertility or subfertility can result.
None of this is particularly pleasant.
The parents of baby boomers saw this viral disease and others such as polio, and raced to have their children immunized. Undoubtedly, in the mid-20th century, it only took one visit to a hospital to see their children, their friend or loved who lived only because of an iron lung, for the lines to begin for polio immunizations when they became available.
An iron lung, such as the one at the Barton County Historical Museum, encased one’s body in metal, with only one’s head outside of it.
Today’s parents have never seen such a thing. They have had the benefit of modern medicine, which treats these illnesses more effectively.
But treatment after the fact is never as efficient as before the fact.
There have been myths propagated by some celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy, who began her career as a model for Playboy magazine, that immunizations can cause autism. She based her belief on work done by Andrew Wakefield, former surgeon and researcher from England. Wakefield was investigated for misconduct and undisclosed financial conflicts of interest for his vaccination work in 2010.
The British General Medical Council found him guilty of four counts of dishonesty and four counts of abuse of developmentally challenged children, that he failed his duties as a responsible consultant, and was guilty of dishonesty and irresponsibility in his published research. His research has been retracted, and he has been barred from practicing medicine in Britain. His work has been called, “An elaborate fraud.”
However, this has led to some parents who have children with no complicating conditions, choosing not to have their child vaccinated.
Immunizations are something that you don’t need-until you do, and then it’s too late.
A quote by Benjamin Franklin still rings true.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”