Immunizations (vaccines) are small amounts of weakened or killed virus/bacteria or a lab-made protein that imitate a virus that are injected into patients in order to prevent that same virus/bacteria.
What are immunizations?
Immunizations (vaccines) are small amounts of weakened or killed virus/bacteria or a lab-made protein that imitate a virus that are injected into patients in order to prevent that same virus/bacteria. When you get a vaccine, you are being injected with a weakened form or small amount of a disease. This triggers your body’s immune response, causing it to produce antibodies to fight that virus or it will induce other processes that help your immune system. Going forward, your body will either be prepared to fight that same disease in the future or the vaccines will reduce its severity.
Should I get immunized?
Yes. It is much easier and much more cost-effective to prevent diseases than it is to treat them. Immunizations can help to prevent the spread of serious diseases and viruses such as the mumps, the measles and whooping cough. Thanks to vaccines, we have also been able to eliminate cases of smallpox and polio. Certain vaccines only need to be given once, but some require boosters to maintain their successful immunization.
Which immunizations should my child get?
Many schools and daycares require proof of immunization, and aside from that fact, it is very important to keep your children up-to-date on vaccines. Protecting children from disease and serious problems is paramount. The recommended vaccines for children from birth to the age of 6 include:
- Tetanus (painful muscle spasms that start in the jaw and can lead to death)
- Poliovirus (infects one’s brain and spinal cord, leading to paralysis)
- Rotavirus (causes an inflammation of the stomach and intestines)
- Hepatitis A (a highly contagious infection of the liver)
- Hepatitis B (a life-threatening infection of the liver)
- Pneumococcal (infections can lead to ear and sinus infections, pneumonia and bloodstream infections)
- Influenza (the flu)
- Measles (symptoms include a cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, fever, a sore throat and a red, blotchy skin rash)
- Mumps (a viral infection that affects the salivary glands)
- Rubella (symptoms include a low-grade fever, sore throat and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Diphtheria (affects the mucous membranes of the nose and throat and can be deadly)
- Meningococcal (infections of the brain and spinal cord and bloodstream)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Haemophilus influenzae type B (can cause pneumonia and make it hard for people to breathe)
Thanks to immunizations, these diseases are at their lowest levels in decades. At North Coast Family Medical Group in Encinitas, we strongly encourage proper immunization. If you have any questions or concerns about vaccines, give us a call. To learn more about vaccines, please visit the CDC’s website. You can request an appointment at NCFMG using our Patient Portal.