Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Vaccines and Sunscreens

There’s a national debate going on about whether or not a child should be vaccinated.  I've not read all the details, but from what I gather, those opposed to vaccinations state that the vaccine itself has some cancer-causing chemicals within that could endanger the child.  Apparently there are documented cases of children becoming sick, afflicted or dying after being vaccinated.

On the other hand, those supporting vaccines have stated that the benefits of being vaccinated far outweigh any risk.  Cases of whooping cough are on the rise in one community where there lives a higher population of vaccine opponents.  The risk of being negatively affected by vaccine is less than 1/10 of one percent.  The benefits are that you won’t get measles, chicken pox and other diseases which are highly contagious and not fun illnesses to experience.  I've had chicken pox…it was like having fire ants on my body.  I also had shingles a few years ago.

For me personally, I would have chosen to vaccinate my kids even if it wasn't required by law.  It’s common sense (in my opinion) and helps to protect my kids and others with whom they come in contact.

I've seen this debate elsewhere, although possibly not as publicly.

There are some sunscreens which contain potentially cancer- or illness-causing chemicals.  Animal studies show that oxybenzone may have some affect on hormones.  Retinol, or Vitamin A has been shown to cause skin cancer in mice.  As a result, some people refuse to use sunscreens with these ingredients and opt for sun blockers such as zinc oxide.

Other reports show that the amount of retinol applied to the mice would be equivalent to applying gallons of sunscreen onto our body at one time.  If the proportions were equal, there’s a good chance that the little rodents would have been fine.

Overall, the medical community encourages wearing sunscreen.  The health benefits of protecting against skin cancer (and aging and wrinkles) far outweigh any risk of illness from the chemicals.

I choose to encourage my family and friends to apply sunscreen every day.  There are options with regard to sunscreen, and the recent passage of the Sunscreen Innovation Act will allow new chemistries to be considered, so perhaps the use of oxybenzone and retinol can be avoided after all.  Even so, I would recommend any sunscreen over none at all.

As for the hot debate, please have your child vaccinated.  There’s greater risk if you don’t and you negligence to not vaccinate your child may endanger another child.

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