Illnesses We Don’t Have Because of Vaccinations, and How They Can Kill You

Illnesses We Don’t Have Because of Vaccinations, and How They Can Kill You

Getting vaccinated is a bitch. What’s it like to die from whooping cough and diptheria, though? Read on.

Whether you love them or hate them, vaccines are around. They were invented because diseases killed too many people and experts were looking for an answer..

Since the illnesses below (and others) can wreak such havoc, when the possibility of vaccinating against each one of them was discovered, it was seen as a great blessing.

No, not everyone who contracts the illnesses in this list gets the full blown version. If you don’t, it might not be so bad for you. But you could pass it onto others who might die. And if you do get the real deal, you might lose your legs or your life.

So, why not avoid all this suffering?

Humans can now sidestep having to rage through these diseases and die or be scarred for life by them, by being vaccinated.

Here’s the scoop on 7 diseases modern vaccinations treat, and what it’s like to have them:

 1) Diptheria

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Before vaccinations, diphtheria caused croup–a hacking dry, tight cough–and it was fatal. It means that the airways in the throat became so swollen because they were infected, that you couldn’t breathe. And so, you died.

These days, if you contract diphtheria, the same can happen to you.

Related: Why Pneumonia Isn’t Contagious but What Causes It Is

You can also develop abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to heart failure, and the illness can paralyze your eyes, neck, throat and respiratory muscles.

Can you survive? Sure, but just be aware that about 50% of people who are left untreated die from diphtheria.

Of note: in 1878, Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Alice caught diphtheria. She infected Princess Marie of Hesse by Rhine and they both died. Down with the royals.

2) Measles

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Measles is all about having those terrible red spots all over your body. It’s spread easily through coughing and sneezing, and it comes on as a typical cold with a cough and a runny nose. The difference is, your eyes will be inflamed and soon you’ll develop a rash all over.

Measles is said to cause complications in about 30% of people who get it, and these include having diarrhea, going blind, your brain becoming inflamed causing permanent brain damage and potentially developing fatal pneumonia.

90% of people who aren’t immune to measles will catch it if someone they’re living with has it.

You’re not likely to die from the measles these days if you do get it, but your definitely stealing medical resources away from others by needing treatment.

Of note: the death rate in the 1920s (pre-vaccinations) was around 30% for measles pneumonia. Not bad, but not good.

3) Mumps

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If you have an awful headache and your face is swelling up causing you to look like a football, you might have the mumps. You look like this because the infection makes your salivary glands inflate like balloons.

So, obviously, this is painful. You’ll have a fever and muscle pain and feel tired. The mumps also targets the testicles- image that swelling happening down there!- and as a result, it can make a male infertile, so no more babies, for the boys.

Other possible permanent side effects of the mumps include brain damage and going deaf.

This disease is highly contagious and also spreads rapidly among people living together in small spaces. Hence, vaccines.

4) Polio

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Polio is a disease that causes your muscles to weaken, and sometimes makes you paralyzed. People who get severe polio can often be identified by an obvious deformity in their legs. One leg is longer than the other, the bones aren’t straight, and they may need braces or some other form of assistance, to walk.

Some people fully recover from having polio, and others simply don’t. They live with the complications of their illness for life.

Although we do live in modern times, unfortunately there is no cure for polio. Treatment involves providing relief of symptoms, and preventing complications. It can require long-term rehabilitation to get better, and sometimes orthopedic surgery. Good times.

5) Rubella

Also known as German measles, rubella can cause major problems for babies growing in a mother’s womb. This is the major reason that a vaccine was developed for it, although it’s not so great to contract it out of the womb, either.

Rubella causes a fever, an itchy rash, joint pain, swollen testicles, and other unpleasantness.

In unborn babies it’s much worse. If a pregnant woman contracts rubella, the baby can develop cataracts on their eyes leading to blindness, it can go deaf and also develop heart and brain problems. The disease is known to cause miscarriages or a stillborn baby, due to the way it affects the fetus.

6) Whooping Cough

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I caught whopping cough myself as a toddler and lived to tell the tale. I was vaccinated but I got it anyways, or maybe my doctor and mother skipped this one due to controversies in the 1970s and 1980s with the whooping cough vaccination, I don’t know.

Anyways, the dirty truth is that whopping cough, or pertussis, can kill you in the advanced stages. It killed thousands of Americans each year before the vaccine was introduced.

It’s most deadly in young infants, as they die from complications including pneumonia and encephalopathy. Yes, that word is that thing that Zika gives babies: shrunken heads. Nice.

7) Lock Jaw

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Instead of ‘Children of the Corn’, think: ‘Death by Dust and Topsoil’. You can get lockjaw by cutting yourself and getting an infection from contaminated soil or dust that’s carrying the disease.

Yes, it’s really just dying from doing some gardening.

Lockjaw, or  tetanus as it’s often called, causes your body to go into terrible muscle spasms and your jaw locks up, leading to the name.

Typically with lock jaw, the spasms start in your face and then begin to travel to the rest of your body. They last minutes at a time, and will conveniently stay with you occurring frequently, for about 3 to 4 weeks.


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During this time, your muscle spasms could be so strong that you fracture your own bones- lovely. It can takes months to recover.

Your symptoms could also include drooling, uncontrolled peeing and pooing, trouble breathing and suffocation, heart attack, trouble swallowing, foot spasms, excessive sweating, a fever and general irritability.

(Man, I’d be irritated too if I kept convulsing, breaking my own bones and shitting my pants without warning).



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Want to know more? Dr. Ian Gemmill told Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, what it’s like to die from Lock Jaw:

“It’s a very nasty death because one can’t breathe anymore, so you have to be intubated. And then it’s a question of whether or not that very tightly binding protein, which is paralyzing muscle, can be removed over time. Or can you keep the person alive long enough … before other complications lead to death?”

Dr. Allison McGreer, another doctor speaking with The Globe, commented on how doctors treat a person who’s fallen ill with Lock Jaw:

“You sedate the hell out of them so they’re not awake, and then every once in a while you let the paralysis lift to see if they go into spasm. And if they go into spasm, you paralyze them again and you just wait,” she said.

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And why not take in some personal stories, as well. Dr. McGreer worked with one patient in 1981, a British man in his late 70s, who came into the emergency room at the beginning of November with Lockjaw.

He wasn’t vaccinated and had contracted the illness in the backyard from a splinter on his porch. He survived by staying in a coma, paralyzed, until February.

Dr. Gemmill told of an even sadder tale- a man who was knocked to the ground by a cyclist on the sidewalk one day. The man scraped his face. He wasn’t vaccinated and got a tetanus infection in the wound. He died.


Lockjaw is treatable but even when treated, 10% to 20% of people who get it, will bite the big one.


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There’s no herd immunity involved with tetanus, because you get it from the environment. You can only be protected from the illness by being vaccinated. So, it doesn’t help if you’re neighbors have been vaccinated and you haven’t.

OK, that’s it for my rant. Please get yourself and your kids vaccinated. Considering the possible side effects of being vaccinated, aren’t these ones worse?

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