Things That Matter

After Years Of Hearing Dangerous Falsehoods From Anti-Vaxxers, Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Measles

@staytunednbc

Here’s a fun fact: measles are so contagious that if one person has it, then 90% of nearby people who aren’t immune to it will become infected. Yikes. This is why it’s important to stay up to date with your vaccinations. Considering that the recent rise in measles cases has been linked to people failing to vaccinate, we figured we’d put together a list of facts and photos for those of you who have a morbid curiosity about the measles. 

*Just a warning, though – if you’re as squeamish as we are, you might find these photos graphic.*

1. Once you’re infected with the measles, there’s no cure.

Instagram / @maricel68

Okay, we had to start with the most dramatic fact. Basically, the only way to heal is to let the disease run its course. However, the symptoms can be managed. But, that doesn’t mean that once infected, you’re not contagious – and, of course,  getting the measles can make for one hell of an awful experience.

2. It can take almost two weeks for the disease to develop after being exposed.

Instagram / @staytunednbc

Generally speaking, symptoms appear between 10 to 12 days after being exposed to the virus. So you could think you’re in the clear after being in contact with someone who has the measles, but really, the sneaky sickness is just biding its time. 

3. The measles usually has four initial symptoms.

Instagram / @drlinda.m.d

These initial symptoms include a fever, a cough, a running nose, and inflamed eyes. The infamous measles rash usually starts to appear on the head a few days later, and from there, it spreads.

4. Most of the world’s measles outbreaks are located in Africa.

Instagram / @sfbex

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the most measles cases have been found in Africa, in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Madagascar, and Sudan. That being said, other countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Ukraine have also been pretty badly affected, too.

5. The measles vaccine has been in use since the 1960s.

Instagram / @vintagetribune

And the vaccine can be given either as a single immunization, or as a combined dose in a measles-rubella (MR), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine. That’s right: you can get a two-for-one deal like you do at your favorite restaurant! Or four-in-one – if you’re like us and hate having needles stuck in your arm.

6. 7 million people were affected by measles in 2016.

Instagram / @pharmacydaily

Which is wild, considering that global measles deaths actually decreased by over 84 percent between 2000 and 2016.

7. Most deaths from measles happen due to economic and healthcare barriers.

Instagram / @johnshopkinsccp

The fact that anyone’s dying from measles in this day and age is a travesty. But, kids and babies don’t have strong enough immune systems to fight off the disease, and so it’s more common for them to eventually succumb to it. This happens even more so in countries with low per capita incomes and weak healthcare systems.

8. Contracting measles can result in some pretty messed-up complications.

Instagram / @mariwalladermatology

These complications can include blindness; an infection called encephalitis, which causes brain swelling; severe diarrhea and dehydration; and respiratory infections, like pneumonia. These kinds of complications can result in lifelong disabilities and brain damage. Bueno.

9. Measles can be transmitted by fluid from the nose, mouth or throat from infected people.

Instagram / @katehewsonevans

Since it’s an airborne disease, it means that measles can easily be transmitted through coughing sneezing. This is why it’s very important for people who have contracted measles to wear a face mask since that’ll prevent the disease from spreading!

10. The measles goes by a total of five different names.

Instagram / @endtimeheadline

Beyond just the standard “measles” title, it is sometimes called morbilli, rubeola, red measles, and English measles.

11. The measles caused 110,000 deaths in 2017.

Instagram / @mohamed.newsman

Even worse, complications happen in up to a quarter of cases for the measles – and these complications don’t discriminate between low- and high-income countries. 

12. Measles is almost entirely preventable.

Instagram / @lou_volunteer

So even though there’s no cure, two doses of the measles immunization are the best way to protect against the disease – especially since those who don’t have a strong enough immune system to be vaccinated are protected by people who do get the vaccine. However, WHO estimates that at this point, only 85 percent of the population has been vaccinated against it … with only the first dose. For outbreaks to be prevented, 95 percent of the global population needs to get both doses of the vaccine.

13. Cases of the disease have risen by 300 percent worldwide. 

Instagram / @saintjameshealth

This. Is. Wild. 28,124 measles cases were recorded last year … and that’s only the ones that were reported. The Americas have seen an increase in cases by about 60 percent.

14. The first recorded instance of the measles was sometime around the 9th century.

Instagram / @littlelotuspediatrics

A Persian physician, Rhazes, published a book called The Book of Smallpox and Measles.

15. 21 strains of the measles virus have been discovered.

Instagram / @medpage

This basically means that the measles has got 21 different forms that it can take to attack the body.

16. The disease can be seen as a test of sufficient vaccination levels within a population.

Instagram / @lovewhatmatters

This is because measles outbreaks can easily occur in populations that are under-vaccinated. FYI, guys: if a community is affected by a measles outbreak, then it leaves the population at an increased risk for mortality from other diseases for up to two to three years afterward.

17. Measles as an endemic disease was eliminated from the US in 2000.

Instagram / @afshineemrani

The reason why it hasn’t been completely eradicated is that carriers of the disease have traveled into the US, bringing the disease with them. Unvaccinated people then contract measles, making it spread.

18. In 1531, a measles outbreak caused the deaths of half of the population of Honduras.

Instagram / @the_neo_life

Two years beforehand, an outbreak killed two-thirds of natives who had previously survived smallpox. Measles is brutal stuff.

19. As of 2018, measles is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in the world.

Instagram / @vaccines_cause_adults2010

It’s also the leading cause of vaccine-preventable childhood mortalities. Really, guys, prevention is key to fighting this disease.

20. Mothers who have immunity to measles pass on their antibodies to children in the womb.

Instagram / @mentormedicine

Typically, the mothers have to have had contracted the disease to pass on these antibodies. But before you think that this is a good reason to contract measles … these antibodies only kinda-sorta protect newborns from the measles. And, usually, they’re lost within the first nine months of life anyway.

So the moral of the story is: take this article as a reminder to stay up to date with your vaccinations! Was there anything that surprised you about the measles, or are you a hypochondriac who already knows all about it? Tell us about it on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

How To Normalize Mental Health Conversations In Traditional Latinx Families

Fierce

How To Normalize Mental Health Conversations In Traditional Latinx Families

Maskot / Getty Images

In an ideal world, we would all play active roles in breaking down the mental health stigma. Dinner talks would be filled with

 “¿Mijo, cómo te has sentido?” 

“¿Cómo vas con tu medicina?” or

“¿Sigues yendo a yoga?” 

Showing emotion would be encouraged and vulnerability would be praised. 

But you and I both know, this isn’t the case when it comes to the world we live in. Growing up in the Central Valley, surrounded by what seemed like endless tomato fields, with two farm-working parents, I will be the first to admit that conversations about mental health were non-existent. Up until my last year of undergrad, I believed that anxiety attacks were an over-exaggeration of weak, pitiful people who couldn’t handle a little stress. Until of course, it happened to me. I suffered my first anxiety attack one night during my last semester at Fresno State. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced, and it changed my life forever. 

During the years that followed, I fought against cultural norms. For me, nothing else had worked, so I said ‘yes’ to therapy and anxiety medication, even when my family opposed it or didn’t quite understand it. It was hard. I felt misunderstood and out of place. I was conflicted about how people would judge me and my family if they found out that I sought outside help. 

But I am happy to report that things did get better. Therapy and medication helped tremendously, and my parents eventually came around to supporting my decision to seek help, primarily because they began to see the progress I was making. 

So yes, even though these conversations are tough, I believe they are absolutely necessary to ensure the wellbeing of our families and our future generations. Mental health conversations have to become an integral part of our families, especially within the cultural context.

There’s no doubt about it, the Latinx culture is beautiful! Its richness is felt in the music, food and strong family values. However, many aspects of the culture are not conducive for growth. Not being able to comfortably talk about our mental health because of the ensuing stigma is definitely one of them. Truth is, if we want to move our Latinx families forward, we must find ways to play a role in normalizing mental health conversations within our traditional families. There is no room for inaction. 

The good news is, you don’t have to be a hardcore mental health advocate to help! 

Empowered Bystanders Matter

We can choose to either be an empowered bystander or play an active role in this. Both can be equally important in normalizing these conversations. First, we must acknowledge that not everyone wants to be outspoken and actively pushing change forward. Regardless, empowered bystanders can still make a difference with what may seem like small insignificant acts. 

Here is how you can help as an empowered bystander: 

Withdraw from toxic dialogue.

Oftentimes within traditional family dynamics, we witness ideologies that are toxic for people experiencing mental health issues. Conversations in family reunions can sometimes be offensive and discouraging. As an empowered bystander, you have a choice to partake in this dialogue or completely withdraw from it. By simply choosing not to laugh at an offensive joke, for example, you take a subtle yet firm stance that you are not here for this, you do not agree with this behavior. 

Compare apples to apples.

You may not suffer from a mental health issue, but you can still observe and pinpoint opportunities for conversation. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say one of your siblings is contemplating taking medication for their mental health but is discouraged by your parent who says things like: 

“¡You don’t need that, you are not crazy,” or

“¡Que locuras! Mejor ponte a limpiar tu cuarto, es lo que debes de hacer!” 

As an empowered bystander, you have the power to respectfully interject and propose an idea like:

“Pa, how is that different from you taking your daily blood pressure medicine, you take that every day for you to function.”

In doing so, you suddenly propose a new thought, a new perspective. You don’t force change; you simply ask questions and initiate thoughtful conversations.  

For those of us who are personally impacted by mental health issues, and feel strongly about creating change, here is how you can help as an active participant: 

Embody and embrace the rebel persona. 

Within the cultural family context, we must acknowledge that taking an active role in breaking the mental health stigma often comes with feeling isolated. We will not always fit in. Understanding this upfront will make it easier to cope. We have to understand that our immediate family will not always be our frontline cheerleaders. This is 100% okay. Whether we receive support within our family or not, it is vital that we seek some type of support, through friendships or support groups. 

Be the example.

Do you suffer from a mental health issue? Do you take medication? Do you go to therapy? Living without shame and using your experiences to offer insight and a different perspective in conversations with folks is key to normalizing this subject within our families. Own your experiences, so they become the shining light for others struggling to find their voice. Showing them that you can thrive with your condition is the best type of education we can provide to our families.

To check out Your Story to Tell Academy’s Instagram go here.

Camila Mendes Shared That She Was Sexually Assaulted And Spoke About The Tattoo That Has Helped Her Heal

Entertainment

Camila Mendes Shared That She Was Sexually Assaulted And Spoke About The Tattoo That Has Helped Her Heal

@camimendes / Instagram

Camila Mendes recently revealed she is a sexual assault survivor. The 25-year-old “Riverdale” star opened up about her assault while attending college in the October issue of Women’s Health. Mendes, who covers the issue, has been an outspoken advocate of women’s issues. The Latin American actress has previously talked about her experience with disordered eating and body image issues. 

Unfortunately, Mendes isn’t the only “Riverdale” cast member who has dealt with abusive behavior. In 2017, Mendes’ co-star Lili Reinhart revealed that when she was a teenager when a man in a position of power attempted to force himself on her. At the time, Reinhart chose to remain silent in fear of retribution, losing her livelihood and ruining her reputation in Hollywood. 

While the #MeToo movement has unearthed dozens of accusations of abuses of power in Hollywood, for most women these abuses of power are commonplace at work, home, and school. 

According to RAINN, in the United States, about 23.1% of undergraduate females experience rape or sexual assault, while 5.4% of undergraduate males experience rape or sexual assault. Moreover, 11.2% of all college students experience rape or sexual assault. Consider that in 2017, there were roughly 19 million people enrolled in colleges in the United States— these numbers are alarming and illuminate the prevalence of sexual assault on campus. 

Camila Mendes covers Women’s Health

“This cover means so much to me. it took me a while to view self-confidence as a product of physical & mental health, instead of appearance and thinness. I’m grateful for the opportunity to spread that message; I could have used it way earlier in my life,” Mendes wrote on Instagram.  

Camila Mendes tells her story. 

While attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Mendes was slipped the common date rape drug colloquially known as a “roofie.” 

“I got the tattoo after my freshman year,” she says, of a tattoo above her rib that reads: to build a home. “I had a very, very bad experience; I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me.”

Mendes vowed from then on to only allow things that made her feel safe and comfortable into her life. She didn’t reveal much more about the experience, but she doesn’t have to. That’s the entire principle behind the #MeToo movement founded by Tarana Burke. All you have to do is say “me too” to a survivor, and it is the revelation, not the personal details, that provides comfort. 

“On one side, it’s a bold, declarative statement that, ‘I’m not ashamed,’ and ‘I’m not alone,'” Burke said. “On the other side, it’s a statement from survivor to survivor that says, ‘I see you, I hear you, I understand you and I’m here for you or I get it.'”

Sexual assault can be isolating and lonely, yet we are surrounded by survivors every day. 

On body positivity:

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link in bio ♥️

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In 2018, the Brazilian American actress opened up about her struggles with disordered eating and bulimia. 

“They feel like watching somebody else who has gone through it gives them hope that they can recover on their own and come to terms with their own problems,” Mendes said of the warm reception she received in sharing her struggles. 

“It’s something that’s still a curse to me. It’s not like that ever goes away. Whenever I do feel insecure, I go back to health. What can I do that’s healthy? Health is what’s important, not appearance. That mentality is what takes me out of the insecure, anxious thoughts.”

Latinxs and sexual assault:

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women supporting women

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According to the 2004 National Crime Victimization Survey, 1 in 6 Latinx females ages 13 and older are victims of sexual assault. 

The Office For Victims of Crime revealed that Latinx girls are more likely to stop attending school activities to avoid sexual harassment than other girls, that Latinx married women were less likely to identify forced sexual acts by their spouses as assault, and that 77 percent of Latinx women, surveyed by a 2009 Southern Poverty Law Center study, claimed sexual harassment was an issue at their workplace. 

And finally that, “For the increasing numbers of women who make the journey across the Mexico-U.S. border, rape has become so prevalent that many women take birth control pills or get shots before setting out to ensure that they won’t get pregnant.” 

When sexual assault survivors become more visible, no one can deny the collective trauma. Sexual violence affects men and women all over their world, it is only when survivors speak their truth that actionable change can happen. Yet, survivors are so often revictimized when they share their stories. Kudos to Mendes for sharing hers.