I’m traveling to Asia in January (hurray!) and I realized that I’m missing my Hep A shot. I’m planning on hitting up China and Thailand where Hep A is fairly prevalent.
My doctor told me that a lot of people get Hep A without ever knowing it and develop immunity to the virus. So I was sent to a clinic to see if I even need the vaccine. Part of me hopes I have immunity because that means saving some money (Hep A vaccine isn’t covered by OHIP). But it’s also really scary to think that I would have picked up Hep A somewhere already. Eek!
The whole thing got me thinking about how little we know about diseases and viruses. But it’s not like we can all be doctors. How much information do we truly need and when does it become overkill and paranoia? I thought I’d mention a couple books that deal with some of the major issues in health care today.
The Wisdom of Whores ~ Elizabeth Pisani
I picked up The Wisdom of Whores while perusing the Chapters-Indigo in Richmond Hill and was hooked after the first few pages. Pisani is a epidemiologist who has been researching AIDS for over 15 years. She tells a shocking story of how billions of dollars worth of foreign aid devoted to HIV treatment and prevention means squat for those living with AIDS.
The Night Shift ~ Brian Goldman
I discovered The Night Shift through TEDxToronto last year. See Brian Goldman’s talk on the M word for doctors. M doesn’t stand for medicine — it stands for mistakes.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer ~ Siddhartha Mukherjee
I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Emperor of Maladies but just don’t have the heart to read a whole book about cancer. For me, it’s just too depressing and too emotional. But I can only imagine how much we’ve learned about cancer over the years.
The Panic Virus ~ Seth Mnookin
Remember when Jenny McCarthy, of all people, went on a personal crusade to tell the world that the measles vaccine causes autism? Seth Mnookin tells her where to stick it in his book, The Panic Virus. He goes on to blame pseudo-science for causing the death of children who wouldn’t have died if they had only, you guessed it, been vaccinated.