Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A friend called me and woke me from a bad dream

And we must have talked on the phone for over an hour. My headache's gone, although I did run into the door jamb on my way to the computer to look something up for him. Ah, grace, thy name is not Lisa.

So now I'm considering going to bed for real, and I've closed the windows and taken my evening pill and taken my blood sugar, which is pretty decent tonight. Now I just have to take my insulin and get ready for bed.

Much of the discussion on my e-mail today had to do with the upcoming Medical Library Association meeting in Seattle and the epidemic of pertussis (whooping cough) in Washington State. It was bordering on panicky for awhile, which I don't understand because we are all information professionals and should be able to get the facts. Some people were upset that the organisers did not send out a general warning. At least one cancelled their trip (the conference starts May 18th). Some were saying it took 2 weeks for the vaccine to become effective so there was no point in taking the vaccine at all.

That's not true. The point of keeping up with immunisations (including as an adult) is that it will prevent disease not only individually but in the public as well, through 'herd immunity'. And doing so helps prevent the anxiety of when this sort of thing happens. Plus, the two-week thing is addressed very aptly by Nikki Dettmar in her post on the Eagle Dawg Blog, entitled 'Straight Talk About the Washington Pertussis Epidemic', along with some other facts that should allay some fears. I'm not saying there's no chance of infection, especially by the those with compromised immune systems, but the reactions were pretty strong and several people rightly tried to allay fears with facts, and others just got annoyed because they didn't feel their fears were being taken seriously.

I am not going to MLA '12, unfortunately, because I don't have a travel budget. I've never actually been to a national meeting for this reason. I would jump at the chance to attend. But if I were going, I would continue to go, despite the fact that as a diabetic I am more likely to get infections and the fact that unlike many of those people, I can't take the TDaP. (I reacted to the pertussis vaccine as a child so they do not recommend that I take it. As a hospital librarian, I, like other employees, are offered free vaccinations through our employee health. They started pushing the TDaP years ago, and I was willing to take it but my doctor advised against it because of the prior reaction. Otherwise I would be vaccinated.)

But, the more people who do take the TDaP, the greater the chance that those of us who can't take it won't get it, so I'm all for others taking the vaccine. Vaccination shouldn't be reactive; it should be proactive.

And of course children who haven't had their immunisations are at the greatest risk. There is the DTaP vaccine for them. If you have children, please make sure you follow recommended vaccination schedules for them. The complications of many diseases far outweigh the risks of any vaccine. And it's important that we as adults do not forget that we have vaccination schedules, too. The TDaP should be taken every 10 years for example. Shingles vaccination is suggested at age 60. Flu, of course, is yearly. You can fine information on vaccinations at the CDC website.

Okay, getting off my public health soap box now and going to bed. Good night.

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