My Memorial Day weekend was supposed to be spent poolside soaking up some sun, but a nasty little stomach bug had other plans for my family (as you can see by the picture of our Memorial Day festivities!). I ended up spending the weekend washing sheets, giving baths, and spraying Lysol on every inch of our home! It has not been the fun little mini vacation I had been hoping for. I thought I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, but based on the fact that my shirt is now covered in my daughter’s breakfast I guess we still have some road left to travel. On Thursday everyone was happy and healthy, but by Friday morning my son was the sickest I have ever seen him (and of course my daughter followed soon after). We haven’t even been around anyone who was sick. Or have we? None of our friends showed any signs or symptoms of the illness, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t carrying the virus. And then I remembered our trips to the museum, the playground, and even church where we directly and indirectly had contact with hundreds of people. There is no telling where we picked this up. Our pediatrician told me that my son could have been exposed to this virus days before having ever shown any symptoms.
Did you know that you can be exposed to and transmit a vaccine-preventable disease before showing signs or symptoms, that is if you ever show any at all? An unvaccinated person who is exposed to the measles virus can be symptom free for up to fourteen-days which gives an ample amount of time to spread the disease to others without any indication of illness. Just imagine how many people you and your family come into contact with over a two-week span. The possibilities of disease carrying hosts are endless. Then there is the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Most people with HPV never develop symptoms or health problems from it, but the virus is linked to multiple cancers, most notably cervical cancer. Cervical cancer does not usually show any symptoms until it is quite advanced, making it all the more crucial for young girls and women to receive their recommended vaccinations at the recommended times. But did you know that HPV immunizations are not just for women?
“The HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls AND boys at age 11 or 12 years.”
The vaccine not only protects boys and men, but also their female partners.
I can sanitize and disinfect every surface I come across, but odds are my children and I will still succumb to stomach bugs and colds. The good news is that I have the power to protect myself and my family against vaccine-preventable diseases as long as our vaccinations are kept up-to-date. A stomach bug, while inconvenient, lasts a few days, but many vaccine-preventable diseases have consequences that last a lifetime.