Now that August is upon us, it’s time to think about back-to-school preparations. While taking your kids shopping for new backpacks and school supplies, stopping by your doctor’s office is one thing to put on your list. With students of all ages headed back to school, it is important to keep your child and other children healthy and disease free. The spreading of many diseases can be easily prevented by vaccinations. Vaccinations keep your child safe and improves their health in the long run. From January 1 to July 18, 2019, 1,148 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 30 states. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since 1992 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000. Now more than ever it is crucial to protect your children and keep them healthy by vaccinating against diseases like the measles and many others.
Vaccinations that your child may need include those that protect against meningococcal disease, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, and human papilloma virus. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and American Academy of Pediatrics offer free online guides to help parents determine what vaccinations are needed and at what age they should be administered. Vaccinating your children before they go to school keeps them, their classmates, and the community safer. Here is what you need to know about vaccines:
How vaccines work
When germs enter the body, it creates an infection that makes you sick. It is the job of the immune system to fight off these illnesses and keep you healthy. Once you recover from the infection, the cells in your body are now familiar with that virus or bacteria and are able to recognize and attack the illness if it happens again in the future. Unfortunately, these illnesses can be so severe that they may cause a significant impact on one’s health including permanent damage of vital organs, leading to seizures, paralysis, infertility, liver damage, and certain cancers and in some cases even death. When a vaccine is injected into the body, it mimics an infection for your immune system without actually making you sick. In response to vaccines, antibodies (disease-fighting memory cells) develop and help your immune system fight off diseases in the future should you become exposed or infected.
Who should be vaccinated?
Depending on your child’s age, there are different vaccines that are suited for her/him. Delaying vaccines can pose serious health risks not only to your child but to others in your community.
If you are traveling outside of the United States, you should check to make sure you and your child are up to date with vaccines in accordance to that country. Check with your doctor to find out what vaccines you should be getting depending on your circumstances.
Are vaccines safe?
The CDC has published a series of research and clinical trials about different vaccinations and their safety. All vaccinations are approved by the FDA after many rigorous trials and are not offered to the public prior to approval. Vaccines are constantly monitored for their safety even after they are approved. With the abundance of information at our fingertips, it is important that research conducted prior to making health decisions comes from credible sources like your doctor or the CDC.