Give Your Kids Their Best Shot
Every year, National Infant Immunization Month (August 2018) highlights the importance of protecting infants from vaccine preventable diseases, as well as celebrating the achievements of immunization programs in promoting health.
Today, children in the United States live healthier lives than they ever have, due to the success of immunizations. With less worry over infection and sickness, both kids and parents live happier and healthier lives.
Vaccines have already drastically reduced infant disability and death in the United States, and through continued use, we are able to protect infants and children from 14 diseases before age two. Routine child immunization is responsible for preventing over 380 million illnesses, and over 855,000 early deaths yearly wordwide.
So what exactly is a vaccine or immunization? When germs enter the body, the immune system recognizes them as harmful, and begins to fight them off, by creating antibodies. A vaccine is an injection which contains a weakened version of a virus, or part of a bacteria, that stimulates the immune system to create antibodies, which fight off the infection. Then, in the future, if you are exposed to the virus or bacteria, you are protected and able to fight it off.
While some vaccines may cause mild, temporary side effects, serious side effects are very rare. The protection provided by a vaccine far outweighs the minimal risk of serious problems. Vaccines have made many childhood diseases, which were at one point extremely common, very rare today. For example, in the 1950’s, almost every child contracted measles, and many suffered brain damage or even died. Due to vaccination, many practicing doctors have not seen a case of measles, something that would not have been possible without immunization.
Vaccines work to make you immune to certain diseases without needing to actually get sick first. They work best when given in a scheduled order, at certain ages. Every year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a schedule for childhood vaccines, available easily online.
Pediatricians at UHS of greater Binghamton will help make sure your child gets the vaccinations he or she needs, track their growth and development, and help treat your child.