Measles outbreak, Snowmaggedon puts things into perspective



Three days ago, I woke up with a throbbing inner-earache — which will probably be an ear infection by the time I actually go to the doctor — and I should have known then not to leave my warm, cozy fortress of comforter and pillows. Instead I got dressed, only to slip and fall twice on the wonderful sheet of ice Mother Nature left over Lexington (as if she doesn’t leave me enough problems) and lost my headphones in the snow.

But I didn’t have nearly as bad a day as some people had this last week. With measles on the West Coast and “Snowmageddon” on the East, America has pretty much sought to include everybody in the January slump of 2015.

I would much rather deal with a tiny ear infection than be a meteorologist in New Jersey right about now. After the storm that was supposed to affect 58 million people fizzled out in New York and New Jersey, forecasters went to Twitter to apologize before the people who were stuck in their homes without Wi-Fi took to their pitchforks and shovels.

National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Szatkowski of Mount Holly, N.J. said, “My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public. You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn’t. Once again, I’m sorry.”

The only thing worse than being a meteorologist in the Tri-state is being anyone in Connecticut, Eastern Massachusetts or New England. Flooding, slush and snow nearly two feet high is not compatible with my California nerves.

Sadly, my home state is still caught up in a measles outbreak that was traced back to Disneyland this past December. Though there is a vaccine for the disease and the vaccination rate is 95 percent in the U.S., there were 42 cases traced back to the park.

Measles always sounded like one of those illnesses “Johnny” from across the street got — maybe it kept him home for a few days like chicken pox and mono. Then I saw the rash that appears in 100 percent of cases and have decided that I won’t be going home until I get re-vaccinated and they Lysol the heck out of the entire state.

Sadly, many parents still don’t see the real risk the disease is for their children and don’t get them vaccinated. Even worse, there are parents still under the impression that vaccines increase the risk of their child developing autism.

I understand there can be parents who are concerned for their kids, so they try to keep them safe by not letting them eat junk food. But relying on one quack’s study falsely claiming vaccines could cause autism shows incompetence in being a parent, not caution.

My throbbing ear and sore rear wish that this week had played out differently, but really I feel lucky to be in secluded Lexington instead of the exciting coasts.