thoughts on life, parenting, news, and crazy shit

Tag: science

Vaccine Shedding Is Kinda Like The Incredible Hulk

It’s been a while since we talked about vaccines.   Then I went and read some other article on Scary Mommy and made the mistake of going through the comments section.

I’m not an expert, I don’t have a PhD.  I have a basic understanding of the complicated science that is immunology, a degree in science (Zoology) and experience in a field that helped develop vaccines to protect us against bioterrorism.

But I believe that my greatest asset is not being gullible and smart enough to wade through all the ridiculous anti-vaxx websites and instead stick to peer reviewed, actual medical literature.

Today, I was looking into vaccine shedding, which seems to be the latest excuses for not vaccinating kids against diseases that at best can make our children very, very sick, and at worst can cause permanent disability and even death.

Vaccine shedding is the idea that once a person is vaccinated, they can then shed virus in their stool, or other bodily fluids.  Under normal circumstances when you get sick, you pass along infections and share your cold or flu by shedding virus in these fluids onto surfaces or the air and the next person comes along and picks it  up.

When a patient is vaccinated, it looks like in some cases they can shed a small amount of virus in their stool or even breast milk. So, there is a small amount of truth in what the claims are.


First of all, this would only apply to “live” virus vaccines, like MMR.

Second of all, the virus is attenuated, which means that it is weakened and generally unable to make you sick.  They are injecting the stuff into a person’s body, so obviously it is not a fully functional bug that can make you ill. The whole point of a vaccine is to convince your body to have an immune response and create antibodies against a disease so that you are further protected against future exposures, without making you sick.

And it doesn’t suddenly come out of your ass after vaccination and say “Well, I survived that, so now I am Super Measles, Destroyer of the Universe and Made By Big Pharma In Order to Conquer The World.”

It’s a weakened form of a virus that could have made you seriously ill, and it’s possible that some of it can shed through your system for a couple of weeks.  From what I can find, there is no scientifically documented case of human to human transmission of a shed virus post vaccination.  There is simply the claims of a bunch of people looking for any and every reason to try and convince themselves that they are right.

Third of all, if you all were fucking vaccinated, you wouldn’t have to worry about catching the damn measles virus from a vaccinated person shedding all their horrible, practically dead germs at you anyway.

Anti-Vaxxers rely on the idea of herd immunity to keep them from getting sick….but what if we all just believed them one day and nobody vaccinated?

Wouldn’t it be awesome to inundate our already struggling healthcare system with treating measles and polio and and small pox again?

I bet we’ll all be shedding some viruses in our shit then, won’t we gang?


Anyway, the best analogy I can think of regarding vaccine shedding is like this:

You have let’s say, a super pissed off Incredible Hulk loose in the world.  (Have you seen the Avengers, Age of Ultron?  Watch the scene with the Hulk and Ironman in the Hulkbuster suit.  They do some serious damage.)

So the Hulk is the disease, and Ironman is modern medicine.  When Hulk is loose and out of control, he sorta fucks up the world.  Hurts everyone he comes in contact with.

And then eventually, Ironman finds a way to knock him out.  Sleeping Hulk.  Still alive, still potentially could roll over and squish you, but highly unlikely .

So imagine that the virus shedding off a vaccinated person is the unconscious Hulk.  You can understand why people are a little leery of him due to the damage he is capable of doing in his regular, active state.

But when he is sleeping, or better yet, turned back into Dr. Banner…although still alive he is pretty harmless.  Dr. Banner can’t really hurt.  The other form of himself could, but not the controlled other version of Hulk.

That’s what the real live version of, say,  the real smallpox virus versus the shed virus post vaccination would be like.  (Oversimplified, yes, but I’m looking for an easily relatable analogy here.)

I just want people to stop grasping at straws and taking half truths about scientific things they don’t understand nearly as much as they think  they do and trust that their doctors are not actually trying to kill them.  We tend to take bits of information and read into them however we want in order to make ourselves believe that it proves something.

Science proves things.  Let the scientists do the proving.  And if you want to do the proving and experiments, then go get a PhD and make your thesis about fucking vaccine shedding.

Or Hulkbusting.

And once your theories are proved and published in peer reviewed journals of medicine, then we can talk.

Until then, find another crusade…like teaching your kids not to shoot people, or vegetariansim, or whatever.  Or become an expert at the ukelele and try to heal the word with music.  I don’t care. Just stop getting in the way of things that don’t need your help.



Trust me, if this is how vaccines came, I'd be an anti-vaxxer too.

Trust me, if this is how vaccines came, I’d be an anti-vaxxer too.

So, I guess it’s that time of year.  Cold and flu season.  The glorious time of year where all parents spend about 4 long months either nursing one of their children back to health or trying not to succumb to the horrible congestion and delirious state of exhaustion that comes with the territory.

It’s also that time of year where we start seeing all the articles about measles outbreaks and the various articles pleading the science of vaccines and urging people to change their minds.

It’s also the time of year where all anti-vaxxers ignore the pleas and continue to make a panic-induced choice based on the blog of someone who may have had a legitimate issue with a vaccine.  The time of year where they allow their children to be exposed to a horrible preventable illness that also puts others at risk.  And by others, I mean people who have already had a shitty deal of it.  People with compromised immune systems, or perhaps an infant who hasn’t had a chance to build an immune system.  Perhaps the infant of a parent who fully intends to vaccinate their child but must wait until they are old enough.

I wonder how you would feel, Anti-Vaxxer, if you found out you had given a friend’s infant the measles?  I wonder how you would feel if that infant suffered from complications or died?

I know how I would feel.  I would feel angry.  I would feel frustrated.  I would feel sad.

If natural immunity is so awesome, why aren’t you guys locking yourselves up in a house together for a few weeks and opening a jar of live measles virus in a room and having one of those ridiculous parties people have with chicken pox these days?  ( There is also a vaccine available for that, by the way)

If you are so unafraid of the measles, why don’t you?  Why don’t you go make out with someone infected with measles and just get it over with?  Just fucking have at it already.

The truth is, you don’t want to get measles either.  It makes you horribly ill and there are risks of some very serious complications to go with it. So you are relying on the rest of us and our immunity to prevent the spread.

I think that all of us who try to reason with science and proof and statistics are wasting our disease-free breath.  I think the main thing driving the anti-vaccine movement is fear.  I don’t think it is an issue that measurable science can fix, because we are talking about irrational fear.

I think the anti-vaccine movement is phobia rooted in misinterpretation of facts and pseudo-science.  I think it actually deserves it’s own phobia name like arachnophobia (the fear of spiders.)  It is irrational and incredible to those of use who don’t allow misinformation to terrify us, but to the “sufferer” it is extremely real.

So, I won’t be linking to any scientific articles.  But I will create my own hypothesis:  There is a real epidemic sweeping the Western world, and it’s called Vaccineaphobia.  It’s rooted in propaganda and fear and isn’t worth trying to attack it with logic.

Perhaps some cognitive behavioral therapy?  How are phobias cured?  Don’t say by a vaccine.

Happy Wednesday, Bitches.

Fatties Forever!

Bitches, I have the best news EVER.

Read this.

Tired of dieting? Too exhausted to exercise?  No need to worry about it anymore.

Despite the weight loss industry being probably one of the biggest money grabs in the entire universe, it appears as though the true answer lies in -get this- just accepting yourself the way you are.

Science has finally backed us up.  Your body is the way it is.  It  likes the shape it’s in.  And no matter how hard you try to change it, you will likely just end up frustrated and feeling shitty and it’s just so not worth it.

So I’m not saying you shouldn’t be healthful.  Lord knows I try. I try to make myself eat lots of vegetables and fruit.  I try to eat beans because they have fiber and fiber makes cholesterol go down.  It also helps you poo, and anyone who’s ever not been able to take a proper shit for like, 9 whole months during pregnancy can appreciate some good old fashioned regularity.

I run after my children.  I climb the monkey bars with them, and go down the slide.  We go for walks. I lug a 20 something pound baby around all day. I suppose I could squeak in a little more sweat time, but Bitches, I gotta save some time to drink of the grape, right?

The article I read this morning said that researchers have determined that only about 5 % of people who lose weight ever really stay there.  That is nearly impossible to lose weight in the long term.  So if you’re one of those girls who lost weight for your wedding or after you had a baby or because you wanted to fit into your high school jeans, go for it.  Just don’t beat yourself up for getting a little thicker a little later.  It’s the new circle of life apparently.

So, it seems to me that there are three choices:

A. Love your own guts and accept yourself as the creature you are.  Take care of your body but don’t stress out about numbers.  You can be healthy at a size 14 just as much as at a size 4.

B. Diet, get thin, get fat, repeat.  Hate yourself in between.

C.  Plastic surgery.

I have to say that although I am perfectly fine with having a little extra to round out my bones, I would seriously consider plastic surgery.  There is a difference between curves, and extra skin left over from a ginormous baby that made you look like a deflated tire.  So that can go, and I’ll keep my fine round ass.

And if there’s some skinny perfect bitch in your life that is making you hate her, have a little faith.  Just tie her down, feed her some lard and watch her grow.

95% chance she’ll be stuck that way forever.

Don’t Be Stupid Wednesday

Yesterday I re-posted this to my Facebook page.  It was in response to an article suggesting that vaccinations were the origins of allergies and responsible for the increase in severe peanut allergies in particular.

I’m not going to pretend to know whether or not this is the case.  I’m not a doctor or an immunologist. But, I am a science grad, a mother, and a fairly reasonable person capable of reading through the available information and making decent decisions with the help of our doctor.  And if you read my original post on the matter, you’ll know that I have concluded that vaccinating our children is common practice for a reason.  It is an absolutely necessary practice in order to keep our children safe and healthy.

Anyway, this post isn’t really about vaccinations.  Because I’m not really interested in repeating myself.  Rather, I’d like to comment on the extremism that seems to be plaguing the parental population these days.

Parenting is about choices.  It’s about being responsible for making decisions for someone else’s life until which point they are able to make good decisions for themselves.  It’s about helping these tiny humans in our care learn how to make good decisions for themselves.

And what I have a problem with today is the fact that a lot of parents seem to be so extreme about everything.  What ever happened about balance?  What ever happened to finding a happy medium between black and white?  Why is there no grey anymore?

For example, “natural childbirth”.  I am 100% supportive of women allowing their bodies to do what they are built to do.  I am supportive of not intervening unless absolutely necessary.  I don’t think we need drugs all of the time, but acknowledge some of the time we do.  I am supportive of women’s choices to birth at home, with midwives or other trained professionals who can intervene or help in an emergency.  But now women are going ahead with unassisted births.  Because they have to be “natural”.  I understand the desire, but when we know better we do better, right?  Why not have someone there who is capable of preventing serious injury or fatality?   I hated the doctors trying to convince me to have interventions that I felt at the time I didn’t need, but has the door swung to far the other way?  Are we endangering ourselves and our babies by refusing all available help?  I don’t know.

In the case of vaccines, I think the decision should be based on what we currently know about diseases.  A friend of mine asked if I had vaccinated my kids against the stomach “flu”.  In this case, we chose not to, because the worst risk from a stomach virus is dehydration, and seeing as we live in a first world country with reasonably good access to medical care we decided it wasn’t necessary.  We felt that in this specific case, catching a stomach virus would help to build a robust immune system down the road.  But it was an informed decision after discussion with our doctor.  See?  Grey area.

In the case of standard vaccines?  We’ve ignored the fear mongering and inaccurate correlations between vaccines and things like autism.  The science is strong.

I think that in this day and age of the internet, we need to be very, very careful where we get our information.  Because people like drama.  They like to stir shit up.  And when you’re basing your decisions on unreliable sources, you are likely to make unreliable decisions.  Know your sources.  Find peer reviewed literature.  Look for scientific journals, and ask the right questions at your next appointment if the scientific jargon is unclear.  A good indicator of the article being sound is that it will have no fillers, no unproven opinions.  It will state a hypothesis and outline the evidence either proving or disproving it.  It will not be written in a sensationalized way.  It will be strict fact.

And I think we owe it to our kids to do better.  We owe it to them to teach them to make decisions based on fact, and discussion, not fads and extremist parents.

There is a huge difference between natural living and stupid living.

Don’t be stupid.



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