Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A TO Z CHALLENGE "V" VACCINATION



Today, for the Letter "V" I'm talking about the polio vaccination. When I was young, polio was a dreaded disease. People didn't know what caused it, but those that contracted the disease were often left crippled, and many died. I remember friends of mine with the disease. My parents worried about my sister and me. Sometimes they wouldn't let us go swimming. What if we caught polio at the pool? They didn't know. Thankfully today, it's mostly a disease of the past.

Here's a bit of history:

On March 26, 1953, American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announced on a radio show that he had successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that caused the crippling disease of polio. In 1952, an epidemic year for polio, 58,000 new cases were reported in the United States. More than 3,000 died.

Polio has affected humans throughout recorded history. It attacks the nervous system and can cause degrees of paralysis. The virus is easily transmitted, so epidemics were common in the first decades of the 20th century. Early treatments were quarantines and the "iron lung," a metal coffin-like contraption that helped the patient breathe. Children are especially susceptible to polio, but adults can have it too. Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with polio in 1921, age 39, and was partially paralyzed.

In 1954, clinical trails using the Salk vaccine and a placebo began on two million American school children. April 1955, it was announced as safe. A nationwide inoculation campaign began, and new polio cases dropped to under 6,000 in 1957. Albert Sabin, a Polish-American researcher developed an oral vaccine in 1962.

 
This 1963 poster featured CDC's national symbol of public health, the "Wellbee" encouraging people to get the oral polio vaccine.
 
I remember my husband, boys, and me standing in line at the neighborhood school, waiting for our little sugar cube of vaccine. Today there are just a handful of polio cases in the U. S. Most of these are from Americans from visiting some nations where polio is still a problem.
 
And now you know.
 


14 comments:

  1. I think most of the people just before me were getting the one on their arm. Was that polio? They have a circle there...it never goes away. I don't have it. By the time I got to that age, I think they'd just moved to a shot? That would have been the mid-70s.

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    1. I think that was the small pox vaccination, Stephanie. I have the scar on my arm, though it's barely noticeable. Been there for many years. :)Small pox was a deadly disease. I think it's been eradicated today. Check Wikipedia.

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  2. I blogged about vaccines as well today, but I was more focussed on Gardasil. While I've gotten my children all their other recommended vaccines on schedule, this one bothers me.

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    1. I just read your post, Tamara. Left a comment. I see why you're concerned.

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  3. Glad that it is mostly gone around here. Thankfully I haven't had to live through any such disease scares yet, besides the over hyped swine flu thing.

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    1. Yes, Pat, that's one disease we don't have to worry about. Sometimes people make "a mountain out of a molehill" as the saying goes.

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  4. I well remember about that Iron Lung Beverly, Wonderful informative post.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Thank heavens we have learned so much about most diseases, Yvonne. Those were scary times, for sure.

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  5. I didn't realize there was an oral vaccine. I still have the scar from the injection (or maybe that's the smallpox one...) I was little so don't remember a thing. Thanks for reminding us to be grateful to Salk and the others who helped eradicate polio. :)

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    1. Your scar is most likely from the smallpox vaccine, Lexa. Yes, it's a little sugar cube. And just the one time was all we had to take it. Advances in medicine are wonderful.

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  6. Thank goodness the vaccine was discovered/created. Very informative post. I learned a lot. Thank goodness it is not something we need to worry about here in the U.S. anymore. It must have been so scary for everyone!
    ~Jess

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    1. Absolutely, Jess. It was scary because most every family had a family member or knew someone that contracted the disease, and no one knew how. What precautions to take. Glad we don't have to worry about polio these days.

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  7. When I was little a girl across from my gram's house came down with polio. The horror of seeing an iron lung arrive at her home will never leave me. Thank you Dr. Salk.

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    1. Seeing an iron lung would be scary to anyone, especially a child, Lee. At least we're spared that sight today.

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