Booragoon author urges public to make most of vaccines


Lannah Sawers-Diggins suffered a myriad of childhood diseases preventable today with vaccinations.
Lannah Sawers-Diggins suffered a myriad of childhood diseases preventable today with vaccinations.

HEALTH conditions that are now vaccinated against have taken a toll on Booragoon |author Lannah Sawers-|Diggins’ body.

Reubella, which she had as a child while living on a |remote sheep station, left her deaf in her left ear.

She contracted measles and mumps in her 20s and in her early 30s developed very painful shingles on her side around the same time as her two young daughters caught chickenpox.

Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox.

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After people have had chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in their nerve cells for many years and can reactivate as shingles.

“I was debilitated and hallucinating,” Mrs Sawers-Diggins said.

“I’d never heard of shingles. I made the mistake of thinking I’d pulled a muscle and it was too late for medication to help.”

The sensation of having a strained muscle returns when she is run down, so she focuses on looking after herself and doing things she enjoys, such as writing and being a member of groups such as the CWA, Probus and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

She encouraged others to make the most of the vaccines available to them and said |she got her flu vaccine every year.

The University of NSW |recently opened a national |research centre of excellence called the Vaccine and Infection Research Lab, with a focus on the 3.8 million adults missing out on their free vaccinations each year.

The lab’s head, Raina MacIntyre, said there was a funded shingles vaccine available for people aged 70 to 79 years.

“Australians aged 65 years plus and those eligible for vaccinations should take responsibility for their health and talk to their doctor, nurse or pharmacist,” Professor MacIntyre said.

“Immunisation against vaccine-preventable diseases, such as shingles, pneumonia and influenza, saves lives.”