Vaccinations Give Children Powerful Protection Against Disease

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You can protect your child from a variety of diseases with routine vaccinations that are given in a series of doses at recommended times. To be protected, your child needs each dose at the right time. Talk with your primary care provider for information about the appropriate vaccinations for your child, as well as the risks and benefits of vaccines and the mild side effects that vaccines may cause.

Also, be sure to tell your doctor about any vaccinations that your child may have missed. Your doctor will advise you on getting your child caught up on shots to be completely protected.

How Vaccines Protect You And Your Child

Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with your body's natural defenses to help you safely develop immunity to disease.

When a virus or bacteria invades your body, it multiplies. This invasion, or infection, causes illness, and your immune system naturally reacts to fight the infection. Once your body fights off the infection, you’re left with a supply of cells that help recognize and fight the disease in the future.

The immune system is designed to protect you from anything that enters your body and doesn’t belong there. When a disease organism enters your body, the immune system recognizes it as an invader and produces antibodies to get rid of it. These antibodies find and destroy the specific germ causing the infection.

Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection without causing illness. It causes the immune system to develop the same response it would to a real infection so the body can recognize and fight the vaccine-preventable disease in the future.

Sometimes vaccinations cause minor side effects, such as fever. These minor symptoms are normal, to be expected as your body builds immunity.

Talk to your primary care physician for more information on how vaccines work to protect your child.

About Vaccine Side Effects

The side effects associated with getting vaccines are almost always mild (such as redness and swelling at the site of the shot) and go away in a few days. If your child experiences a reaction at the injection site, you can use a cool, wet cloth to reduce redness, soreness, and swelling.

Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare and doctors and clinic staff are trained to deal with them. Pay extra attention to your child a few days after vaccination. If you see something that concerns you, call your child’s doctor.

Vaccines are continually monitored for safety. Like any medication, they can cause side effects. However, deciding not to immunize your child puts your child and others at risk of contracting potentially serious, even deadly, diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States has one of the best vaccine safety programs in the world. Scientists are constantly monitoring information from several sources for any clues that a particular vaccine may cause an adverse medical event, such as an allergic reaction.

Immunizations are available for the following diseases:

Hepatitis B is caused by a virus that can damage the liver and result in jaundice (yellow skin and whites of the eyes). In some cases this can develop into liver cancer or liver failure.

Rotavirus disease is caused by the rotavirus. The illness involves severe vomiting and diarrhea in young children and can lead to dehydration. Children who are severely dehydrated often need to be hospitalized.

Diphtheria is caused by bacteria and can enlarge glands on the sides of the neck and lead to difficulty swallowing. In severe cases, it can damage heart muscles and paralyze breathing muscles.

Tetanus (lockjaw) is caused by bacteria and can lead to muscle spasms that can keep you from opening your mouth or swallowing. 

Pertussis (whooping cough) is caused by bacteria and results in coughing and choking spells. It can also lead to pneumonia or brain damage in infants.

Haemophilus influenzae type b is bacteria that can cause meningitis (inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord). It can also cause pneumonia.

Polio is caused by a virus. It can lead to permanent paralysis of the muscles, including the muscles that control breathing. Polio can also cause death.

Measles is caused by a virus and can cause fever and rash. It can also cause hearing loss, brain damage, or death.

Mumps is caused by a virus and can result in fever, headache, and swollen, painful glands under the jaw. It can cause men to be sterile later in life, and can also lead to hearing loss or inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Rubella (German measles) is caused by a virus and can result in fever, swollen glands, and rash. If a pregnant woman develops rubella, the baby may be born with severe health problems.

Varicella (chickenpox) is caused by a virus and results in itchy skin blisters. In rare cases, pneumonia or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) may develop and lead to death.

Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacteria and leads to meningitis, an inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis results in high fever, headache, and stiff neck. Left untreated, it can result in other serious health problems, such as brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disability. In rare cases, it can cause death.

Pneumococcal disease can either be caused by bacteria or a virus. Pneumococcal vaccines help protect against pneumonia from viral sources. It can affect the brain and spinal cord, lungs, and ears.

Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus and can lead to fever, headache, sore throat, cough, and muscle aches. It can also result in pneumonia and death, especially in very young children. The flu vaccine is given every year in the fall.

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus and can result in acute liver inflammation and jaundice.

Genital HPV infection is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a virus. Infection with certain types of the virus can result in genital warts and/or cervical, vaginal, or vulvar cancers in women.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.