Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All

A fascinating article and equally disturbing is a fantastic article from Wired magazine. An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All is an objective look at the two different camps regarding vaccinations and the concern whether they are the cause of autism.

Both camps want to keep children safe. Both have very different ideas on what that means. For doctors and the medical profession, the science has been drowned out by a very effective media savvy campaign which has resulted in significant decreases in immunization rates resulting in the return of previously contained childhood illnesses like measles and pertussis.

As the internet connects more of us and removes obstacles for acquiring knowledge, it has instead reinforced and caused polarization not only in politics, but even more so in medicine.

Find out the truth on how to stay healthy and well by asking questions, listening to opposing points of view, and then making your own decision. I learn from patients. Patients learn from me.

As the article rightly notes, choosing not to have a child vaccinated isn't risk free, but rather a different set of risks occur. While I may disagree with patient's decisions, I do respect them as long as I feel they are informed about the pros and cons. I only hope that they choose based on rational thinking rather than emotional fear.

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