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Childhood diseases

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Danny M2Z23/05/2019 12:26:54
940 forum posts
1 photos

Lately in Australia measles has re-surfaced as a deadly disease.

The Govt. 'Health Warning' did note that 'Baby Boomer's' were possibly immune as they possibly had it as a child.

As a child of the 50's I had measles, mumps and chickenpox. My parents used to send us kids to play with other children who were afflicted and we also played in the dirt to ingest a few more germs.

Admittedly Scarlet Fever knocked me about a bit, I was about 6 years old and still remember the USAF Sabre's that flew over my recuperation home at Shoeburyness, The black smoke and the roar are still imprinted in my memory.

So my question is about did our childhood diseases protect us and is this natural immunity being bred out of the current generation?

- Danny M *

roy entwistle23/05/2019 12:40:40
1458 forum posts

It would certainly seem so

All our local kids played together whether we had measles chicken pox etc.

Also I seem to recollect that there was always someone in class who had either an arm or a leg in plaster. Which is another thing you don't see anymore, there again kids don't climb trees anymore.


Robert Atkinson 223/05/2019 12:48:59
1149 forum posts
20 photos

Well it’s clear that the Americans who won’t vaccinate their children have caused a lot of trouble. I’m of the view that a bit of exposure promotes the immune system. That’s how vaccines work after all.

Robert G8RPI.

Thor 🇳🇴23/05/2019 12:50:22
1476 forum posts
41 photos

Hi Danny,

You can get measles outbreaks in areas with low vaccination coverage, for instance from non-vaccinated visitors, and vaccination causes less trouble than getting measles. If you are vaccinated or had measles as a child you should be well protected. A high vaccination coverage against childhood diseases is an effective way of preventing outbreaks.


Edited By Thor on 23/05/2019 12:57:33

John Haine23/05/2019 13:03:10
4407 forum posts
261 photos

You don't want to acquire your immunity through an epidemic, a distressingly high proportion of children die from things like measles and whooping cough. That's why we vaccinate children. Vaccination may not work for life though - I caught whooping cough in 2001 through travelling in a country where it was endemic, at age 51. It was not pleasant!

Mick Henshall23/05/2019 13:03:53
561 forum posts
34 photos

My Nan said if I looked down the drains in the gutter I'd get Scarlett Fever 🤔

Mick 🇬🇧

Hopper23/05/2019 13:03:56
5505 forum posts
137 photos

Up until reading recent headlines about "deadly measles" outbreaks, I always thought measles was about like getting the flu but itchier. Everyone had it sometime when we were kids.

But apparently it can in some cases be fatal. Side effects can include:

encephalitis – or brain inflammation, affects about one person with measles in every 1000. About 10 to 15 per cent of people with encephalitis die and 15 to 40 per cent of survivors have permanent brain damage to varying degrees

A tiny percentage to be sure, but over a population of tens or hundreds or millions, that would be a lot of kids dead but a heck of a lot more with brain damage.

(Maybe nobody noticed brain damage when we were kids?)

Puts it into perspective. I don't think we had any kind of magical natural immunity. We just never heard about the small number who died and brain damage probably did go somewhat unrecognized by today's standards in the absence of modern testing and imaging technology.

Edited By Hopper on 23/05/2019 13:04:23

Samsaranda23/05/2019 13:04:32
1291 forum posts
5 photos

Pretty certain that our exposure to the childhood diseases, I had measles and chickenpox in the 50’s, has given our immune systems a boost over those that have been brought up in a semi sterile environment such as youngsters today are, and yes we were sent out to play with the kids who had these diseases in order to get it over with as it was a sure thing you were going to get them sooner or later. I have concerns over wether vaccinations that are the norm today are the way to go, I believe that natural exposure to diseases is the way to condition our immune systems gently, having a large number of vaccinations in your formative years is flooding an undeveloped immune system with huge loadings that wouldn’t occur naturally. I speak with some experience on the subject as when my first daughter was vaccinated at 3 months old she had a series of convulsions and was left partially paralysed, this was later classified as vaccine damage. In respect of further vaccinations of my affected daughter and our two further daughters I asked a consultant at hospital whether we should have the vaccinations carried out and his words were, you have one child already vaccine damaged if they were his children he would not go down that route. His rationale was that there may be a genetic issue within our family that had caused the extreme reaction to vaccination, if you did not vaccinate then the chances of suffering the disease were a risk but the reaction to the disease may well be mild whereas if you vaccinate then there is instantly an exposure and statistically you were at risk of perhaps serious reaction due to the concentrated exposure from vaccination. The affected daughter is now in her fifties and still disabled to a degree but has her own family. When we chose not to allow vaccination of our children all those years ago we were harassed by the medical authorities and the children were put under pressure by the schools to have the vaccinations, once the children became adults we handed them the responsibility for their own vaccinations. Danny, I used to visit Shoeburyness when I was in the Air Force, we used to take aircraft and materials to the ranges on Foulness Island for experiments with ordinance, my overriding memory of Foulness Island is that it was the coldest place I have worked at in the UK, the wind blew straight in off the North Sea, bitterly cold.

Dave W

SillyOldDuffer23/05/2019 13:12:05
7897 forum posts
1725 photos

The problem with achieving 'natural immunity' is developing it requires you to catch the disease. Measles, mumps, and chick-pox are mostly mildish illnesses, but they can all turn nasty. Killers. Not unusual for measles to cause blindness or even death. Grown men fear mumps for good reason - it causes agonising swelling of the testes and sterilisation.

The advantage of artificially immunising against disease is that vaccines are much less aggressive than wild bugs. As soon as they became available, most countries used them and real outbreaks all but disappeared. Denied of hosts Smallpox has been eliminated entirely, but not the others. Sadly, because vaccines are not completely safe, and one has been falsely linked to autism, many parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children, and as a result, the real diseases are back. (In my opinion objecting to vaccination is so stupid the state should stamp on the parents. Selfishly refusing vaccination endangers the population as a whole - people risking their own kids is one thing, but in my view it's not acceptable for other children to suffer because of misplaced parental concerns. )

Before 1950 contagious diseases were common, and they were rampant before 1930. Measles killed 1,145 children in 1941 Britain, between the years 2000 - 2016 only 1, 2 or zero per year. I'm lucky to be here because my mum, aged 4, only just survived Diphtheria.

Immunity provided by vaccination is at least as good as naturally acquired immunity, applied consistently it protects everybody, and it's far less dangerous.





Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 23/05/2019 13:12:33

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 23/05/2019 13:15:09

vintage engineer23/05/2019 13:35:03
254 forum posts
1 photos

When I had mumps, I could put my testicles in a wheel barrow!

Vic23/05/2019 13:37:51
3012 forum posts
8 photos

Yes, like nearly every other kid in my school I had measles, mumps and chickenpox in the late 50’s early 60’s. There may now be an increase in these diseases in some areas of the world but is it actually causing any problems? I agree that it would be nice to have zero cases but if those that do get it don’t suffer any more than I or my school friends did is it such an urgent problem? In some areas it does seem to be lack of inoculations but this is partly due to the bloody minded attitude of government who, in spite of parents fears refuse to bring back the single inoculations rather than the combined one. To my mind it doesn’t matter if parents fears are justified or not. It’s interesting that in recent years some more affluent families seem to have gone private and paid for the single inoculations for their children rather than have the free NHS all in one.

Michael Gilligan23/05/2019 13:38:34
19577 forum posts
995 photos
Posted by vintage engineer on 23/05/2019 13:35:03:

When I had mumps, I could put my testicles in a wheel barrow!


... and did you ?

J Hancock23/05/2019 13:40:53
798 forum posts

Fairly sure there would be some significant correlations here.

My mother had diptheria (1930's) ,I had scarlet fever (1953).

Cancer has been the biggest killer of friends among my generation.

Hopper23/05/2019 13:54:46
5505 forum posts
137 photos
Posted by Vic on 23/05/2019 13:37:51:

There may now be an increase in these diseases in some areas of the world but is it actually causing any problems? I agree that it would be nice to have zero cases but if those that do get it don’t suffer any more than I or my school friends did is it such an urgent problem?

When you look at what SOD posted above: " Measles killed 1,145 children in 1941 Britain, between the years 2000 - 2016 only 1, 2 or zero per year. " the problem is pretty clear.

It is clear from these facts that measles vaccination saves well over 1,000 British childrens' lives every year. 

I'm surprised at those numbers too, but that's why science beats belief every time.


Edited By Hopper on 23/05/2019 14:01:25

not done it yet23/05/2019 14:59:11
6509 forum posts
20 photos

We (well, mum and dad) never bothered when the smallpox outbreak occurred (back in the late 50 early 60s?). Most on dairy farms were well 'oiled' with cow pox ointment, or had contact with cows with it. I was put in the pram with my elder brother when he had mumps. Even so, I apparently showed no symptoms, but I would not want mumps now!

HOWARDT23/05/2019 15:23:31
833 forum posts
28 photos

Like others I was sent to the latest infected child in the 50's. Had about everything going by the time I was 10, except for chickenpox, caught that of my kids while on holiday in Florida in the 80's. They had it the week before while I was in Sweden on buisness.

Michael Gilligan23/05/2019 15:23:45
19577 forum posts
995 photos

I distinctly remember, being taught [in my early teens] how to do an emergency tracheotomy

... such was the prevalence of diphtheria surprise


Neil Wyatt23/05/2019 16:58:17
18893 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

Vaccination gives the immune system much the same kick as being infected without the need to be ill and the risks it brings, it's definitely preferable to the more serious childhood diseases. Bear in mind, in the 50s and 60s people were more inured to childhood deaths from infectious disease.

It's the aversion to dirt and obsessive cleaning that leave immune systems with nothing to do and is possibly behind the increase in auto-immune conditions like asthma, eczema, coeliac disease, nut and many other allergies.


SillyOldDuffer23/05/2019 17:44:26
7897 forum posts
1725 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 23/05/2019 16:58:17:


It's the aversion to dirt and obsessive cleaning that ... is possibly behind the increase in auto-immune conditions like asthma, eczema, coeliac disease, nut and many other allergies.


Phew! I'm safe then. Been compared to a goat down a coal mine I have...

colin wilkinson23/05/2019 18:01:59
71 forum posts

Sorry Neil, I had all the usual diseases as a child including Scarlet Fever so no aversion to dirt etc, but I was diagnosed Coeliac at the age of 71. it appears to be no respecter of age. When I was at school in the 50s there was at least one lad with leg braces due to Polio, not something you hear of now in the UK. Colin

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