Some Gen Xers Might Need Measles Booster Shots

iStock.com/Pornpak Khunatorn
iStock.com/Pornpak Khunatorn

Measles, a disease declared eradicated in the U.S. in 2000, is making a comeback. As of Wednesday, April 24, there were 695 measles cases in 22 states, according to the CDC. As public health officials implore parents to get their kids vaccinated, some adults are wondering if the shots they received years ago are enough to keep them safe.

As WECT reports, adults born between 1957 and 1989 may benefit from getting a measles vaccine booster, even if they received the vaccine when they were kids. Many Baby Boomers and people from older generations were likely exposed to measles as children, and are therefore immune to the virus. But measles rates have dropped since 1963 when the measles vaccine was first introduced. In 1989, the CDC began recommending two doses of the vaccine for kids, spaced out over a few years, for maximum effectiveness.

CDC guidelines for measles vaccines haven't changed since the current outbreak began. The department says that anyone born after 1957 should have received at least one dose of the vaccine, which is 93 percent effective against the disease. But if Gen Xers want to be extra cautious, they can ask their doctor to test their antibody levels to see if they're immune. If they're still vulnerable to measles, they can get a second booster shot, which together with the initial vaccination is about 97 percent effective.

But the CDC's current priority is children who haven't been vaccinated at all. Thanks to the misinformation around vaccines, a growing number of parents have opted not to get their kids vaccinated, which has fueled the current health crisis in the U.S. According to a 2016 review of measles studies, out of 970 measles cases, almost 42 percent of patients had skipped the vaccine for non-medical reasons.

The symptoms of measles range in severity from a rash around the hairline to coma and brain swelling. The CDC warns that the longer this current outbreak continues, the greater the chance is that measles will stay in the U.S. for good.

[h/t WECT]

Michigan Hospital’s Neonatal ICU Is in Need of Volunteer ‘Baby Cuddlers’

barsik/iStock via Getty Images
barsik/iStock via Getty Images

You don’t have to be an empty-nester impatiently waiting for grandkids to feel the urge to cuddle a newborn baby. And, unless you or a loved one happens to be raising a baby at the moment, the opportunity doesn’t arise all that often. But if you live in Michigan and have a little extra time on your hands, now is your chance to get the snuggle action that you (and the babies) have been craving.

MLive reports that Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Michigan, is looking for volunteers to cuddle, rock, and soothe babies in its Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It’s no surprise that the hospital takes the safety of its patients—especially infants—very seriously: All applicants must pass a background check, interview, and extensive training before gaining access to the NICU.

You’ll also have to make at least a year-long commitment to volunteer for four hours on a weekly or biweekly basis. Though the NICU staff could use volunteers every hour of every day, right now they only need people to sign up for the graveyard shift—between midnight and 8 a.m.

If staying up past your bedtime once a week sounds like a reasonable trade-off for four hours of tender, loving care and that sweet baby smell, you can apply on Covenant HealthCare’s website here.

Wondering why you now feel the urge to move to Saginaw just so you can cuddle Covenant’s newborns? You can blame evolution. Newborns aren’t so supremely snuggle-worthy just because they’re often soft and doughy; they also have large, round eyes and tiny noses, mouths, and chins. This configuration of facial features is called kinderschema, and it activates our instinct to nurture and protect, giving our species the best chance of survival. You can read more about it here.

[h/t MLive]

A Custom Wheelchair Allowed This Brain-Injured Baby Raccoon to Walk Again

фотограф/iStock via Getty Images
фотограф/iStock via Getty Images

Animal prosthetics and wheelchairs allow dogs, cats, and even zoo animals with limited mobility to walk again, but wild animals with disabilities aren't usually as lucky. Vittles, a baby raccoon rescued in Arkansas, is the rare example of an animal that was severely injured in its natural habitat getting a second shot at life.

As Tribune Media Wire reports, Vittles came to wildlife rehab specialist Susan Curtis, who works closely with raccoons for the state of Arkansas, with a traumatic brain injury at just 8 weeks old. The cause of the trauma wasn't clear, but it was obvious that the raccoon wouldn't be able to survive on her own if returned to the wild.

Curtis partnered with the pet mobility gear company Walkin' Pets to get Vittles back on her feet. They built her a tiny custom wheelchair to give her balance and support as she learned to get around on her own. The video below shows Vittles using her legs and navigating spaces with help from the chair and guidance from her caretaker.

Vittles will likely never recover fully, but now that she's able to exercise her leg muscles, her chance at one day moving around independently is greater than it would have been otherwise. She now lives with her caretaker Susan and a 10-year old raccoon with cerebral palsy named Beetlejuice. After she's rehabilitated, the plan is to one day make her part of Arkansas's educational wildlife program.

[h/t Tribune Media Wire]

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