Before I start this little spiel, I need you all to know: I’m not hating on people who don’t vaccinate their kids, and while I know for a fact BASED ON facts that vaccines don’t cause autism or other “defects”, I’m all for continuing research to make them even better and safer.
But you know what really, really scares me about the anti-vax movement? As a future Public Health Professional, the thing that scares me most about this is the fact that our cultural mindset has become so CHILL about vaccine-preventable/”childhood” diseases that there is even room for such a movement. Let me explain.
Do y’all know what an R0 is? The R-naught, as it is called, is the basic reproduction rate of a disease. It tells you how many new infections can come from one existing infection. For example, an R-naught of 3 (R3) means that, on average, one sick person will infect three other people. Every disease has an R-naught, some greater and some lesser.
Do you remember when everyone was freaking out about Ebola? Everyone was terrified of catching it, because it’s SOOOOO contagious and deadly, right? Ebola has an R-naught of 2. That’s it. R2. One person with Ebola, on average, will get 2 more people sick. And we were freaking out about that.
Well guess what? Measles is the most contagious disease known to mankind, and it has an R-naught of 18. 18.One person with measles will give it to 18 new people, and those people will give it to 18 new people EACH, and so on. That’s what happened with the Disneyland outbreak; it’s so ridiculously contagious that just ONE sick child was enough to start an epidemic.
And yet very few people are as scared of measles as they are of Ebola. Why is that? One reason could be the nature of the disease, sure; Ebola is terrifying in its progression and symptoms. But I would suggest that a major reason is that measles has been so well-contained by vaccination that people no longer fear it. It’s not a part of every-day life anymore; this disease is no big deal because nobody gets it, because so many people are vaccinated against it. Let’s put this another way.
What are the diseases that scare everyone the most: Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and SARS are pretty high on the list of terror diseases. But let’s look at the R0s, shall we: Ebola-R2. HIV/AIDS-R5. SARS-R5.
Now let’s look at diseases that people are voluntarily rejecting vaccinations against: Measles, Pertussis, and Diphtheria are the major ones. Their R0s? Measles-R18. Pertussis-R17. Diptheria-R7.
Everyone focuses on the former set of diseases– rightly so, I suppose– because they’re more dangerous at the present time. What makes them more dangerous? Not their R0; it’s the fact that there is no viable treatment, and NO VACCINE. Seriously, that’s why the medical community is worried about them. There’s no way to treat or PREVENT their spread biologically. Well guess what? There’s no viable treatment for Measles or Pertussis, and only limited treatment options for Diphtheria. That’s why the medical community doesn’t focus on them as much, because we can prevent them at the biological level, safely and effectively.
But now that the Anti-Vax movement has taken hold so firmly, the medical community is now being forced to once more worry about diseases it had almost eradicated. And not only that, it’s endangering herd immunity for the people who can’t receive their own vaccines due to compromised immune systems. I’m allergic to eggs, so I can’t receive the flu shot, but I’m also asthmatic so I can’t get the inhaled vaccine. I rely entirely on the people I associate with to keep me safe from the flu by getting their yearly shot. This made public school a living nightmare, because almost NOBODY got their shot. They caught it, and while it didn’t affect them TOO terribly because they were generally healthy, when I caught it, it was very dangerous because of my asthma. And then there’s that time when I caught the flu, and then right after because of my weakened immune system, I caught Whooping Cough from someone who hadn’t been vaccinated. I HAD been vaccinated, but my body was so fatigued from the flu that it couldn’t keep up with immune demands. And so I caught it.
Have you ever had Pertussis (whooping cough)? It’s hard enough on someone with full lung capacity; it can break ribs, it makes you cough so hard. You cough until there is literally no air in your lungs, and you have to inhale so forcefully it makes the “whooping” sound that gives it the name. It’s painful beyond belief, and it can last for weeks. Some people will survive it. But add that to asthma, or to a young child, or to an elderly person, and you are looking at either permanent damage or death, no exceptions. When I had it, I was about 6 years old, and asthmatic; I spent 81 hours awake because the coughing was so violent I physically couldn’t sleep. I tore abdominal muscles. I vomited during coughing fits and aspirated the vomit. I was actively dying. The doctors could barely suppress the cough enough for me to breathe at all. My inhaler wasn’t helping, none of the cough syrups or breathing treatments were helping; I was getting pneumonia on top of the virus. It was Hell. I was LUCKY that I didn’t die.
Who would wish that on their child? Nobody, I hope. And if you KNEW you could keep your child from ever experiencing that, wouldn’t you do whatever it took to ensure their safety?
Or would you look at the safeguard and say, “Nah. I’ll take my chances with my child’s life.”?
That is what the anti-vax movement is doing. Perhaps not purposefully, but that’s the end result. These aren’t just names on syringes designed to make a child cry; the diseases are real, and real threats to health and life, and the vaccines are how you prevent them. Yet we are so far removed from the impact and effects of these diseases BECAUSE of the peace brought to us BY vaccines that people now feel no qualm about refusing vaccines.
That’s what scares me about the anti-vax movement; people have become so complacent that they no longer worry about these very real, very deadly diseases. They’d rather risk their child’s life than get a shot? The side effects of vaccines are unproven (nonexistent), but the efficacy of vaccines are very much proven.
When the pertussis vaccine first came out, people jumped on it right away. They were so grateful to have it, and for a while everything was smooth sailing, and whooping cough was on the decline. Then, in the 70s, some groups started claiming the pertussis vaccine was causing brain injury in young children. Less than 50 in 15 million cases were reported, but it was enough to scare people away from the vaccine. And children began dying again. It was later discovered that it was NOT the vaccine, but the result of infantile epilepsy, that caused the brain damage. People began once more vaccinating their children, but not before hundreds if not thousands had died.
And that’s what’s happening now. A falsified claim scared just enough people that time-tested, lab-tested, fully-proven, totally safe vaccines are being rejected, and we’re already starting to pay with lives. And I’m scared it’s going to get worse. People don’t really grasp the full import of these diseases and the necessity of the vaccines until they have experienced the disease. I’m scared that it’s going to come down to new epidemics before people will realize the mistake of not vaccinating.
Right now we’re still in the semi-safe zone. Enough of the population is immunized that we could probably keep most pandemics of these diseases at bay. But if this movement keeps gaining momentum, there might come a day when measles and pertussis could once again destroy thousands of people yearly. Imagine if some terrorist group weaponized Ebola and used it against this country; so many people would die, because we have no vaccine for it, no way to prevent it. That is what could happen with diseases like mumps, rubella, measles, pertussis, Diphtheria, and polio. Except it wouldn’t be terrorists using a disease as a weapon; it would be some kid in your child’s class, or your neighbor across the street, or the guy who delivers the mail to your office. That’s how life used to be, and if someone from the pre-vaccine era could see us now, they’d weep for joy at the idea that we can prevent these horrific diseases; and then they’d weep in sorrow at the idea that people are voluntarily turning down that safeguard.
It’s true, vaccines aren’t always 100% effective; I was immunized, but still got Whooping Cough (lowered immune function, if you recall). But you know who didn’t get it? My baby sister. My big sister. My cousins. My mother and father. My classmates, the other kids at my doctor’s office. The nurses at the hospital. The pharmacy workers. Their children. The kids my mom taught at school. All those people were safe because of vaccines. And you know what else? When I was in India, I was exposed to polio. Didn’t get it. Know why? I was vaccinated. I was exposed to chicken pox in 5th grade. One unvaccinated kid got it, and the other 4 kids in our class who weren’t vaccinated got it. But you know who didn’t? The rest of us who WERE vaccinated.
Vaccination may not be perfect, and the only way we will improve them is by continuing research. But the fact remains that as they are now, vaccines cause no lasting side effects (injection site pain goes away), and are extremely effective at preventing dangerous, painful, debilitating, often deadly diseases. Let’s keep researching, yes, but in the mean time, PLEASE vaccinate. It’s not worth your life, or your child’s, or anyone else’s. Vaccines save lives, not destroy them.
Hey humans! Aunt Scripty here. This post is a submission by Brittany, whose Tumblr handle I surprisingly don’t know. This post came through the Submissions Box. If you’re interested, I encourage people to submit articles to appear on the blog! [though it may behoove us both if you message me first, as I have a few posts in-progress and I don’t want us to duplicate efforts]
Anyway, give Brittany some props! This is an awesome post, and I’m CRAZY thankful she wrote in! And now, Brittany, take it away!
Disclaimer: This applies to the American medical system only, and may be biased by the author’s experiences. Also note that this is the process for becoming an MD, not a DO (both MDs and DOs are fully licensed physicians, but DOs have a stronger focus on the musculoskeletal system and their schooling is slightly different).
Disclaimer Part 2: I swear, this was SUPPOSED to be a brief post. Oops.
The quick and dirty:
—4 years of undergrad
—4 years of medical school, 2 in the classroom and 2 clinical
—3-5 years of residency depending on what they specialize in. Can be longer if they add subspecialties or fellowships.
The in-depth description:
Getting in (Premed student)
Acceptance to medical school is hard enough to start with. There’s an estimate that 75% of applicants are qualified, but only 50% get in. Your character doesn’t need to major in biology or pre-med, but there are pre-requisites: two semesters each of biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus, and physics, plus a couple biology electives, and I think psych and statistics have been added on since I graduated, but don’t quote me on that. That’s pretty much 2/3 of a science major right there, so you can see why a lot of people just end up with that. During spring of junior year, they’ll take a giant standardized test called the MCAT that covers all of those topics and is notoriously difficult.
Along with the classroom work, they’ll have to get clinical experience—most commonly volunteering, shadowing, or working as a medical scribe, but you can get creative—and usually do a little research of some kind. Med school is hard and being a doctor is harder; they want to know that you’ve got an idea of what you’re getting into. If your character does all that right, they interview with medical schools during the fall of senior year, and hopefully get accepted!
Year 1 (MS1)
Your first year is classroom based. You get daily lectures on very complicated medical topics, with relatively little patient interaction this year. Schools will include more practical classes as well, including a cadaver dissection, pathology (where you train to look at cells and understand what a healthy vs. diseased one looks like; some schools are old school and have people still work with slides and microscopes, others like mine do it virtually), and standardized patient encounters (where they hire actors to come in and work with us so we can practice histories and physical exams and basically get a baseline on things like “what does a normal lung sounds like?”).
Patient interaction varies from school to school, but generally is pretty low. You can shadow a certain specialty you’re interested in, volunteer in free clinics, join different clubs/interest groups, or do various electives that will focus on teaching certain aspects of patient care (nutrition, medical Spanish, global health, etc.), but you have to go look for them. If I hadn’t done any of that, I would have seen maybe… two patients a month? Most students will branch out with those other opportunities, though.
Year 2 (MS2)
Similar to MS1 in that you’re still on classroom duty, still not seeing many patients. Typically you learn more sensitive physical exams this year (urological, gynecologic, breast, etc.), and you’re finished with the cadaver dissection, but things are otherwise the same. At the end of your character’s MS2 year, they’ll take their first board exam, called STEP 1. You can take it one time only unless you fail. Low scores or a fail are really frowned on, and can limit the specialty your character goes into, so you can imagine the pressure.
Year 3 (MS3)
Yay! Your character’s now ready to be let loose on the clinic/hospital!
Boo! This year kicks. your. ass.
This year is all about making your character feel like an idiot putting what your character’s been studying for two years into action. The schedule is broken up into rotations, which are periods of 4-8 weeks where students focus on a specific specialty each time. These courses are: pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry, ob/gyn, neurology (usually), emergency (sometimes), surgery, and internal medicine. Difficulty varies by rotation, with surgery and ob/gyn being the worst (12 hour days with only one day off a week, max; surgery adds in occasional 24 hour shifts too, just to spice things up). Occasionally you’ll land on a nice one, like psychiatry, with 10 hour days and free weekends.
On a more day-to-day level, third years are usually part of a small medical team that cares for a set of patients. The team consists of an attending (fully licensed physician), residents (physicians who are training in their particular specialty), and medical students (MS3s and MS4s both). MS3s will usually get a small subset of hospital patients they care for every day—take their histories, do their physical exams, list what you think they have, and suggest treatments/tests—but because you’re not licensed, you basically take all that to the attending/resident who hears you out and then says ‘yea’ or ‘nay.’ As the year progresses, hopefully you hear more ‘yeas’ and fewer ‘nays.’
At the end of this year/the beginning of 4th year, there’s another board exam called STEP 2. Half is your typical multiple choice test, with a numeric score—much like STEP 1—while half is a pass/fail practical where you work with standardized patients.
Year 4 (MS4)
Hopefully by now your character has figured out what they want to specialize in. I can go over specialties in another post if anyone’s curious, but the biggest ones are basically the same as the ones listed as core rotations during the MS3 year. There’s a giant application/interview process that takes up the lion’s share of the summer/fall/winter for interviews with residency. At the end of the process, everyone ranks the residencies they interviewed with from most to least favorite, and at the same time the residencies rank their interviewees from most to least. The whole thing goes into a giant computer algorithm to give as many people as possible as high a choice as possible, and then on the same day of the year, at the same time, MS4s across the country take a deep breath and open envelopes saying where they ‘matched.’
In addition, with those pesky core rotations out of the way, the character has time to take electives that may or may not be applicable to their future specialty—me, I’m going for emergency medicine, so I’m doing several rotations in EM as well as EMS, but I’m also doing a two week course forensics because it sounds awesome.
Otherwise, 4th year is widely known as the ‘take a breath’ year. People get married or have babies during this time, travel, and generally start to act like human beings again. There’s space in your schedule that’s off—it’s generally intended for interviews or studying for STEP 2 if you’re taking it late, but people will use it for anything.
Not going to give too much detail about it, seeing as how your character is technically a doctor at this point, but residency is basically 3-5 years where your character trains in a specialty—yes, they’re physicians, but they don’t know everything about their particular field and need trained. You’re in this weird limbo between student and employee; you make a salary (although a very low one considering the number of hours) and can prescribe medication, perform procedures, etc., but an attending is responsible for you, you still attend a weekly lecture, and you can’t practice independently. To give you an idea of how hard these years are, they recently had to limit things like “don’t make residents work more than 36 hours in a row,” and “don’t put the doctor who graduated med school a month ago in charge of an entire floor of ICU patients for a night with no backup.” Incredibly, some of the old-school attendings think said changes are a bad idea and will produce doctors who are “weak.”
Also, you thought your character was done with standardized tests? You sweet summer child. STEP 3 has to be finished before you can complete residency, and is usually done during intern year. The good side of this is, you’re in a residency now, so as long as you pass, no one cares about the score.
—This is a sample timeline, following your ‘traditional’ student. It’s becoming more and more common for people to take a couple of years off after undergrad and apply for medical school after that. If you want a chance for your character to gain some non-medical life experience (travel, other skill sets, becoming a parent, etc.), this is a good chance for them to do it!
—I’ve been asked by a writer I know in RL how young someone could potentially become a doctor. I think she wanted to put in a prodigy kind of person. The problem with that is that medical schools don’t just look for smarts, they look for maturity—imagine having someone who looks like they can’t drink yet tell you you’ve got a terminal disease, and you can see why. That said, there are a couple of accelerated programs, where I’ve seen people graduate undergrad a year early and go straight into medical school, or where they condense medical school into three whirlwind years because the person’s on track for a specific primary care residency. So if most people graduate medical school at age 26-27, you could have someone out at 25 or maybe 24, but probably no younger. And remember, they’ll still need residency training from there.
—Not gonna lie, medical school is incredibly difficult. That said, I think the best students/doctors are the ones who maintain an outside interest or two, so don’t feel like your character can only have medical skills (*cough*Grey'sAnatomy*cough*) . Give them a few side interests to maintain their spirit.
—I can give more detail about any and all of these if anyone asks; these are supposed to help you understand what your character has had to go through to be a doctor, not be a full detail spiel. I can also do ‘day in the lifes’ if someone’s writing a med student character and wants an accurate description, but let’s be real: most people want to write the master, not the pupil.
Guyssss! I’m so happy! I just came back from the doc’s office and let me tell you the final diagnosis:
Well it seems that I have celiac disease since I was a baby (shocked to learn about this, they told me before that it was the adult-type one), and almost 30 years of damage hurted my bowel so bad that my antibodies managed to travel into my thyroid through the blood & kicked its ass too (XD).
That’s were the Hashimoto’s disease started. It gave me hypothyroidism first, and later the awful tumor that made me so nervous during the last 3 months.
The tumor was an hemorragic wound that ended clogged inside the thyroid tissue, causing pain and inflammation through the whole thing. It’s painful… but it will go away with time! :D Isn’t that awesome?!
I must have Vitamin D for the rest of my life (my body isn’t able to get it in a natural way anymore) & I must see a new doctor next month that it’s going to start a nice treatment to heal my bowel and help me to gain weight again~♥
Healing the wounds through the bowel would keep the thyroid safe from new attacks from my highly-paranoid antibodies. And that results in less pain/tumors in the future!
I don’t know guys; I have no words to express my happiness! Now I can start dreaming of a future in which I would be able to feel a whole more better than now! Maybe I will be able to restart school and achieve my dream of becoming a Psychologist~!
Things are looking brighter right now. Even if I’m still in pain… my soul is jumping like a child. Thanks for your support through the dark times; you guys deserve twice the kidness that you gave me! \(^0^)/♥
Rfa+minor trio reacting to mc being the worst cook in history but she looks so goddamn optimistic that they cant say her food is shit so its THE SHIT
✿ i may or may not have done some of these things over the years. which ones? guess.
Didn’t realize someone could mess up more than him.
It’s not that your food is misshapen. Yoosung’s food is misshapen. Yours positively looks diseased - like, what are those weird spots
are those sesame seeds?
why did you put sesame seeds in your eggs.
Tries to be kind about correcting your mistakes, and is as endlessly positive as you are about improving.
“It’s really good now! But I bet if we do this, it’ll be even better!”
This man learns to lie like a saint.
Since you’re the perfect person, you have to be the perfect cook, right?
ZEN HAS NEVER BEEN MORE WRONG IN HIS LIFE, AND HE IS THE KING OF POOR DECISIONS.
there is absolutely no way he’s going to spoil that delightful expression on his face though so he chugs beer to drown out the taste of Sin Itself.
Treats eating your cooking as a harrowing experience he must go through where the reward is your smile.
Always has beer with his meals, though. Always.
She grew up in an abusive household where her presence was constantly dismissed, derided, and unwanted, and she still has never experienced anything as awkward as this moment.
How do you not know?
How do you not see?
THE MEAT IS BURNED ON THE OUTSIDE AND RAW ON THE INSIDE, HOW DID YOU DO THIS.
She tries to tell you but you’re just
you’re just so happy and
She starts walking cooking shows with you and prays it’ll do something to fix the travesty that is your food.
Never, not once, has Jumin encountered bad cooking, so he doesn’t actually realize you’re doing anything wrong.
He just think’s that putting a cup of black pepper instead of a tablespoon into food is “a thing commoners do”, and treats it like a curiosity.
“How peculiar. Does the spiciness disguise the poor quality of the ingredients?”
“I see… is the texture both crunchy and hard to compensate for the pasta’s blandness?”
“Hmn… do the black parts give it extra flavor?”
doesn’t understand why you get mad after that. oops.
He puts his hands on his shoulders. He stares into your eyes. “MC,” he says gravely, like he’s about to deliver a terminal diagnosis. “I regret to inform you that you cannot cook.”
your heart is shattered to pieces, but before you can emotionally collapse, Seven continues.
“However, my love! Do not despair. This affords us with an excellent opportunity. Do you know what that is?”
You shake your head mutely, and Seven’s grin lights up the room.
“I can’t cook either. So together, we’re going to make the worst dish possible, and we’re going to force everyone else to eat it.”
It becomes a game. The rest of the RFA thinks you and Seven are unaware of how bad your Ratatouille de Actual Live Rats with Diced Grape Tomato Sauce actually is, and while they’d tell Seven to buzz off, they can’t tell you. So faced with your unending cheer, they eat it.
They consume it.
You make a corporate heir, a famous actor, and a former secret agent consume your terrible cooking.
you are monsters.
Doesn’t grimace. Doesn’t cower. Doesn’t say a word. He just smiles and says “thank you” when you present him al dente pasta that probably hasn’t actually ever touched water.
It’s not a lie. It’s genuine. This man doesn’t care that it’s garbage. You being happy and you trying to make him happy by spending time on something is enough for him.
Even when you ruin a slow cooked pot-roast by putting jelly in it.
Even then, he still smiles, eats it, and says he loves you.
Like his twin, he’s also bad at cooking. Unlike his twin, he isn’t going to admit it, and he unknowingly joins you in being a terrifying force in the kitchen.
Dishes become exponentially worse when touched by the two of you. Saeran wants to add sprinkles, you want to add frosting, and suddenly your lasagna looks like a birthday cake.
“Let’s add candles! It can be dessert.”
The person who bears the brunt of your abuse is Seven, who doesn’t have the heart to tell either of you how awful your food is.
It culminates in you sending him to the hospital.
You’re enrolled in classes after that, becoming a poor home ec teacher’s problem.
Vanderwood wakes up at 3AM to find you sobbing over the stove, its glass top shattered and spices scattered everywhere on the floor.
Apparently, you’d been possessed by the fae desire to make gingerbread cookies. Apparently, you were also too short to reach the cinnamon and cloves the recipe called for, and - in your flailing - the glass bottles all spilled out of the cabinet, breaking the stove, hitting you on the head, and scattering all over the floor.
In a vacuum, this might be an incidence of clumsy-cute, but you do this constantly. In a previous life you must have angered the god of cooking because kitchen appliances are always trying to kill you.
Vanderwood had to save you when you got your hair caught in the mixer. Vanderwood has had to bandage your wounds when you burned yourself on the stove. Vanderwood has had to help you pick up all the groceries from a collapsed fridge, and Vanderwood proceeds to baby-proof the kitchen and ban you from unsupervised cooking.
It’s for your own good,they say. I don’t want to come in here and find your decapitated body.
there is not a lot you can do in the face of their Motherly Tone.
5 Films That Will Inspire You to Leave Animals off the Menu
1. Earthlings Inspiring countless people to ditch meat, this 2005 documentary narrated by famed actor Joaquin Phoenix explores our relationship with non-human animals, including those used in food production.
2. Forks Over Knives Struggling with heart disease? Looking to reduce your risk of cancer? This film details the health benefits of a plant-based diet, including reduced risk and even reversal of most chronic diseases.
3. Speciesism: The Movie This film addresses the core concepts of Peter Singer’s seminal book, Animal Liberation, with a touch of much-needed humor.
4. Cowspiracy Released just last year, this documentary explains how our meat-heavy diets impact everything from climate change and species extinction to land and water wastage. You’ll never look at meat the same way again.
5. Vegucated This film documents three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers on their journey towards a vegan diet, including the often humorous challenges they face along the way.
I have to wonder what kind of disconnect goes on int someone’s head when they leave the comment:
“Sounds great, but if it were me I’d use all purpose or wholemeal flour instead of the gf, it’s much healthier for you and tastes great!”
On a website run by and aimed at people suffering from celiac disease looking for recipes.
It’s also not their only comment, cause on the page about dairy free gf brownies (oftentimes people with celiac and other similar gut problems develop casein and lactose problems) their comment is “personally I’d use milk instead of olive oil, milk gives it a better taste, also that’s a lot of egg! if you just used butter you wouldn’t need to use so much egg” just like, are you aware of where you are right now???