Youth Voices

Measles – Another Epidemic

By Qurat-ul-ain Zamir

Fever, Rash, Red eyes, Itching

Fever, itching, rash and red eyes

Cheering the New Year zealously, 2013 celebrations and happiness prevailing the lows and highs of the society! “Year of the Children”, was given the name to this New Year with the resolution to make this year special for our little brats and princesses i.e. our kids by removing all the diseases from their lives and by making prevention for them accessible and always available. But the changing weather the merriment and joy had this strange silent deepness in its cold winds and rainy days. A weird silence in the back ground of the noisy environment. That signified the presence of some evil spirits peeping from the close ended streets ready to attack, giving those vicious smiles with the evil plans on their minds.

One fine morning as everyone was busy with starting up their new day a scream came from the end of the ward. A child just died. A pretty sapling wilted before flourishing. All were in grief and agony when another report was seen on TV. And just the whole scene changed, people running aghast, frustrated, fearful and panicked. Some evil spirits had started devouring our little kids, the pretty ones for whom we had put up the whole show of year celebration.

Newspaper headings flashed 300 more diagnosed, 9 more died. Measles epidemic has covered the country’s major provinces of Sindh, Punjab and khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. But we all get vaccinated in childhood! Was the first question which aroused in my mind. Why the virus is taking so many lives and has affected so many little flowers then?
The mystery is still a mystery but world health organization highlights insufficient vaccination the cause of this major bad event. Why aren’t we getting our only future assets, our children vaccinated?

A number of causes say the reality. Majority of our population is from a low socioeconomic background and hence has no money and resources to get their children vaccinated and many just believe in the myths of permanent sterility after vaccination. Some believe the children might get different permanent diseases as a consequence of the vaccination plan.

Let me highlight it, vaccination is to boost the person’s body mechanisms to fight against the disease and not to cause any sort of harm to the body instead. All children at the age of 9 months-1 year must be given a dose of Measles vaccine (MMR) to prevent from this disease which was never prevailed as it today occurs. In the decade before the measles vaccination program began, an estimated 3–4 million persons in the United States were infected each year, of whom 400–500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and another 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles. Widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases in the United States compared with the pre-vaccine era. So see it’s not at all bad, in fact it is helping people to survive longer.

Another factor which is augmenting the spread of the disease is our dietary habits we take junk food and negate the importance of the fresh fruits rich in vitamin A, which can actually prevent us from having the disease since vitamin A strengthens our body’s soldiers to fight against the disease. Apricots, Fresh Cabbage, Carrot, Chili Pepper, Grapefruit, Lettuce Leaf , Mango Pepper, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Tomato and Watermelon are some options you can utilize. Avoiding over crowded areas with use of masks is another option since it is a contagious disease so the best way to prevent it is to avoid contact with the diseased person for some days, hardly seven days of no contact during his ailment will prevent you from getting sick.

Wisely said prevention is better than cure, so for prevention of this problem we got to follow the health care guidelines and prevent what is preventable and not die a death so preventable. Why shall we let our kids be a prey to such a preventable disease? Get vaccinated and live long!