Vaccinations play an important role in the health of your child and public health. They prevent the spreading of diseases such as:
- Whooping cough
- Chicken pox
- HPV and more
What Exactly is a Vaccine?
A vaccine is an immunization. It builds up your body’s natural immunity to a disease with antibodies. When your immunity is built up, it keeps you from contracting and spreading the disease.
Typically, it consists of a very small dose of the disease germ. It is usually injected into the leg or arm. When your body recognizes the invading germ, it develops antibodies to fight it. Antibodies can stay in your body for life, protecting you from sickness and disease.
With antibodies, your body builds up a defense system called your immune system.
Vaccines are used to help build your immune system for protection. So it’s very important to follow the Center for Disease Control’s Recommended Schedule.
Vaccines cover a wide range from illness to major diseases. A cold virus for example is usually a mild irritation. However, smallpox and polio caused life changing problems and death. History has taught us that taking preventative steps is extremely important. Vaccines protect you and protect children.
Who Needs Vaccines?
Vaccines are recommended for infants, children, teenagers, and adults. They are especially important for at risk populations like young children and older adults.
The best way to identify what vaccines you may need is to visit your Horizon Health Care provider. Our providers will review your medical history, including your immunization history and any risk factors associated with recommended vaccines. Some people shouldn’t get vaccines, such as infants under two months of age or a person with a particular medical issue. This is just one of the reasons Horizon Health Care providers want to know your whole health history. That way, we can discuss all medical interactions, including vaccines.
In addition, there are people who simply don’t respond to them. That’s why it’s very important for the family, friends and children around them to all get vaccinated. When the majority of a population is immune, diseases have trouble spreading.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) also provides immunization schedules and helpful information on various diseases. It outlines what vaccines are needed at what age. Most of them are given to children. And in some cases, some are combined so they can be given with fewer shots.
Are There Side Effects Involved?
Vaccines can cause minor side effects to you and your child. But it’s important to know they are usually not severe. They may take the form of swelling from the injection. Children may also develop a small fever. In most cases, symptoms disappear in a day or so. Serious side effects are rare.
Vaccines undergo years of testing before they are deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA continues to track all vaccines after release to make sure there are no safety threats. Overall, the benefits of vaccines are far greater than any minor side effects.
If You Have Questions, Horizon Health is Here
As your primary care provider, Horizon Health Care always encourages you to ask any questions you may have.
- Why does my child need vaccination?
- What vaccinations do I need as an adult?
- What are the possible side effects?
- What do I do if there are side effects?
- What happens if my child doesn’t get all the recommended schedule?
- What happens if I miss a shot? Can I still get it?
- What should I do if I don’t have health insurance, or my insurance doesn’t cover vaccinations?
Throughout the years, there have been myths spread about vaccines. To make matters worse, the internet is often not the best source of accurate information. Here are a few answers to common misconceptions.
NO, vaccines do NOT cause autism in children.
No matter what you may read or hear, there have been no credible studies linking vaccines to the development of autism. Current research suggests infants may be born with autism, long before any vaccine is introduced.
YES, an infant’s immune system can handle a vaccine.
Infants are exposed to hundreds of viruses and bacteria each day. So in fact, they’re immune system can handle much more than a vaccine.
Vaccines do NOT contain toxins that will harm you.
Some vaccines contain substances such as formaldehyde, aluminum, and mercury. But the amount is so small that the vaccines are completely safe and effective. These products are used to create safe vaccines and the toxic forms of these substances are not used in vaccines.
Vaccines do NOT cause the flu or other diseases.
Many people believe the flu shot actually causes the flu. This is a pretty common misconception. You can experience mild symptoms that resemble the illness. But you do not actually have the disease. Most flu vaccines are dead or dramatically weakened versions of the virus.
YES, we do still need vaccines, even with infections declining
The United States has a very high vaccination rate. But that is no reason to be complacent. Many serious diseases are still common place in other areas of the world. And if you’re not vaccinated, you could still risk exposure from another county. The only way to keep our infection rates low is to continue vaccinating.
Horizon Health Care encourages you to stay up to date on all vaccinations – for you, your family and the health of the public. Still have questions? Contact us any time about vaccinations and how they protect you.