I'm always a bit surprised when I read semi-hysterical reports that say (gasp!) measles was seen somewhere in the United States!!! Jeepers, Mr. Kent! Run!
Five more people who visited Disney theme parks in California last month have fallen ill with measles, bringing the number of cases in the state to a dozen, local health officials said Friday.
When I was a kid, long long ago, if people heard that your kids had measles, they'd call you and say, "Oh, wonderful, Marge. My kids haven't had it yet. I'll bring them right over!"
We literally tried to spread it around, just to get it over with. I don't remember anyone ever getting seriously sick from measles or mumps -- but I was a kid then, so who knows. These diseases are irritating, for sure. But they never seemed to kill anyone. Nonetheless, these days it's like the end of the world when a single case is seen.
I had them all -- mumps, measles, even whooping cough. Mind you, you should do everything in your power to avoid whooping cough. I still have bad dreams that involve perceptions I experienced when I was in the hospital with whooping cough at the age of two. My kid mind told me that evil creatures were sticking carrots up my nose, and that's why I couldn't breathe. It was freaky.
Times change. Get your kids vaccinated against everything for which there is a vaccine. That's my advice. But I'll continue to shake my head and smile when I read these frightened stories about measles and mumps. It just doesn't fit with my recollections.
(And yes, I know some childhood diseases can be dangerous for adults. But aren't all the adults immune because they already had them? Or has it been that long since there was a widespread outbreak of measles and mumps?)