even the mailman showed up in a hazmat suit.

Castle Frostbite was afflicted with the Wandering Crud for the last two weeks.  One of us brought home a bug, and like a good family, we shared it and passed it around.  This one was a particularly vile flu/sinus type infection, and it had us all blowing snot and popping meds for the better part of two weeks.

I suspect that the kids picked it up at the local homeschooler’s play group meeting we attended three weeks ago.  One of the kids there was sick–runny nose, cough, and everything–and I didn’t do the smart thing, which would have been to turn right back around and head home again.

That incident had me thinking about homeschooling in general, and the need to get together with other homeschoolers to provide a varied education and socialization.  I have absolutely no intention of ever getting together with anyone from the homeschooling group if there are some parents among them who belong to the anti-vaccination crowd.  If one of those parents is already thoughtless enough to bring a sick infant to a playgroup, who’s to say some of the kids aren’t vaccinated, because their parents bought the whole “Vaccinations cause teh autizm!!!1!!ONE!!” nonsense hook, line, and sinker?

Robin was seriously distraught because she lost her taste for several days, which is hell on earth for someone who loves to cook.  I asked her what she’d do if that loss of taste turned out to be permanent, and she couldn’t even contemplate such a horrible fate.

We’re doing a belated Easter egg hunt today, on account of us all being sick as dogs during the actual and proper Easter egg hunting season.  The regular blogging schedule will resume shortly–the current work is just about in the bag, and then I’ll finally get to spend a week or two reading, catching up on movies, and dusting off my night elf hunter in World of Warcraft.  The poor thing’s been parked at a tavern in Stormwind City for the last few months, getting fat and lazy with no monsters to slay.

17 thoughts on “even the mailman showed up in a hazmat suit.

  1. Chang says:

    Say, how you homeschool the kids anyway?

  2. MarkHB says:

    Normal way, I imagine Chang. Repetition and electrodes.

  3. LittleRed1 says:

    Re. sense of taste. A family member of mine has lost a large part of his sense of taste as a result of chronic bronchial and sinus problems consequent to chemotherapy. He still cooks, and the rest of us are very careful with the first bite of chili, curries et cetera. He tends to spice them until he can taste the flavors. Yeee wow!

  4. theflatwhite says:

    Would a public school environment reduce the chance of exposure to anti-vax kids or contagious kids with inconsiderate parents?

  5. Marko says:

    Well, most public school systems around here require the kids to be immunized, AFAIK….so yes, it would reduce the chance of exposure to anti-vax kids.

  6. Sarah says:

    Public schools do require vaccinations but it’s not too difficult to get waivers in most places. I’d say homeschoolers as a whole are more likely to be anti-vax though; comes with the whole not-blindly-obeying-authority thing.

    I selectively vaccinate my kids- I think it’s pretty darn crazy to vaccinate newborns against STDs and ‘most kids against relatively innocuous diseases like chicken pox. (Which my kid brought home from a vaccinated public school kid last year.) I don’t think there’s good evidence that they cause autism, but there is some reason to believe that they could have negative impacts on immune function in general. (Not good population-wide-study evidence; the effects would be too amorphous to measure in that kind of way even if all the other variables could be controlled for, but I can understand the theoretical basis for it.) So I don’t vaccinate my kids against the diseases I don’t particularly mind them getting. I don’t see herd immunity as my responsibility to maintain for diseases that are either nonexistent in this hemisphere or not dangerous to the general population.

  7. Marko says:

    “…not dangerous to the general population.”

    Therein lies the rub, Sarah. What if your unvaccinated kid gets chicken pox, and passes it to an unvaccinated infant in the pediatrician’s waiting room? What if your kid passes them on to someone who’s just had chemo (and a severely weakened immune system), or a frail old geezer on the bus?

    No danger to your kid, of course…but half the good arguments for herd immunity are in favor of protecting precisely the slice of the population that isn’t “general”.

  8. John Hardin says:

    … picked it up at the local homeschooler’s play group meeting we attended three weeks ago. One of the kids there was sick …

    Are you going to write a politely-worded letter about this to the other parents in the group so that maybe it won’t happen again? All we can do for you is commiserate.

  9. Sarah says:

    half the good arguments for herd immunity are in favor of protecting precisely the slice of the population that isn’t “general”.

    I know. That’s the sole argument for mandatory vaccination that makes sense to me. But there are a whole lot of diseases out there without vaccines which are just as or more risky to people with compromised immune systems. They need to be protecting themselves anyway. But I also don’t think peanuts should be banned from the earth because some people have life-threatening allergies; guess I’m just cruel that way. I don’t give my kids peanut butter in public or around kids with known allergies, and I don’t take my kids out when they’re sick. It doesn’t eliminate the risk but life is a dangerous thing.

  10. Eric says:

    My wife is a taster and also has a highly developed sense of smell. (I think they go hand in hand.) She is sensitive to particulates (smoke, diesel, perfume) so I call her “the canary.”

  11. I’m with you 90% it seems, but it should be noted that recently they changed the recommendation for polio vaccine. They no longer give the live stuff for the first dose.

    The nasal spray type flu shot is live virus too.

  12. kneil says:

    I (who have never had chicken pox) was recently exposed by a home schooler at a potluck. The mother has decided that getting the disease is somehow safer than the vaccination and had sought out an infected child for hers to play with and is planning a party to spread it to other willing families.

    I understand that she is looking for kids with measles and mumps as well.

    I am getting the chickenpox vaccination for myself next week.

    @ Sarah: you might want to Mark Crislip’s take on vacinations over at Quackcast.com. He is an Infectious Disease doc who makes living sound like a much bigger challenge to the immune system than any vaccination.

    And air travel being as common as it is, there is no reason to think that distance is much protection. There was a recent outbreak of either HiB or Measles (both happened, I forget which came from where) that came back to the states from Northern Europe with a vacationing Anti-Vax family.

  13. Laughingdog says:

    I don’t quite follow the logic behind one of the things in your post. I understand thinking “anti-vaccine” people are idiots. But if your kids are vaccinated, how would non-vaccinated kids endanger yours?

  14. Marko says:

    Vaccines are never total insurance. The measles vaccine, for example, is only 95% effective. It’s the cumulative effect of herd immunity that keeps measles from getting passed around.

  15. Laughingdog says:

    You learn something everyday. Granted, I probably would have known that if I were able to make a marriage last long enough to actually have kids.

  16. Kristopher says:

    Let me know if you need a gnome tank for a pug …

  17. Kristopher says:

    Sarah:

    I got Hep A when I was 7 … step father caught it and everyone in the house eventually came down with it.

    During the early twentieth century, the second most common Syphilis vector were barbers … a lot of the seemingly extreme disinfectant measures state licensed barbers ( as opposed to stylists ) use are from those bad old pre-penicillin days.

    You don’t have to have sex to get some of the STDs.

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