Immunizations keep people safe. If you are unsure what immunizations you or a family needs, here's what you need to know.
What are immunizations?
Immunizations are one of the most important steps you can take to protect your health. They can prevent serious and sometimes deadly diseases, including polio, measles, diphtheria, and whooping cough. Immunizations are also called vaccines.
How do immunizations work?
Most people know that immunizations can help protect people from disease, but many don't realize how they work. Immunizations typically work by injecting a person with a 'dead' or 'modified' form of the virus. As that person's immune system fights off the 'dead' virus, the immune system is also preparing for a future fight with the live form of the virus. If you are ever exposed to the live virus, your immune system is primed and ready to fight it off, because it has done so before.
Are immunizations safe?
Yes. Immunizations are safe, and they are tested extensively before they are ever used in the general population. The benefits of immunizations far outweigh the risks.
How are immunizations given to a patient?
Most immunizations are given as shots, but some are given as oral drops.
What are the most common immunizations?
The most common immunizations are for polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles). The vaccines for these diseases have all but eliminated them.
When should you get immunized?
There are different suggested schedules depending on which immunizations you are getting.
What are the risks of not being immunized?
If you are not immunized, you are at risk of getting a disease that could be prevented. You are also putting others at risk, especially infants and young children who cannot be immunized yet and people with weakened immune systems.
Outbreaks of preventable diseases do still occur, even in the United States. For example, there have been several recent outbreaks of measles. Many of these outbreaks have been traced back to people who were not vaccinated.
The bottom line
Immunizations are safe and effective. They are one of the best ways to protect your health and the health of those around you. If you have any questions about immunizations, talk to your doctor or another healthcare professional.
For more information, contact a local clinic, like Dino Peds.