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Every year in August, we celebrate National Immunization Month to bring attention to the value of immunizations for individuals of all ages. As the new school year approaches, now is a good opportunity to make sure that your children are up to date on their vaccines. Each August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a time to reflect on the progress and development of immunization science and its effect on public health. When it comes to vaccines, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays a crucial role in ensuring that they are both safe and effective for use by the general population. Vaccines protect against harmful bacteria and viruses by triggering the immune system in a way that is completely safe for the body. Getting vaccinated primes the immune system to act swiftly if and when the body comes into contact with the disease-causing organism.
What are the advantages of vaccines?
They can lower the severity of an illness or protect you from contracting an infectious one. A person who is immune to a disease can be exposed to it without getting sick. Simplistically said, thanks to developments in medicine, vaccines can now protect us from a wider variety of diseases. Vaccines have been largely responsible for the eradication of several diseases that once caused injury or death to thousands. Adults also benefit from receiving immunizations. Some vaccines given to children may lose their protective effects with time. Vaccine-preventable diseases can affect people of all ages, and adults can be at risk for them because of factors like age, occupation, lifestyle, travel, and health.
Infants and children
By the time they become two years old, children who have been vaccinated are protected against 14 potentially fatal diseases:
- The best method to safeguard your young ones against 14 potentially fatal diseases like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) before they turn two is to vaccinate them according to the recommended schedule.
- Children who don’t get the appropriate immunizations are more likely to get sick and to have a more severe illness if they do get sick. An unvaccinated child’s risk of contracting a disease that can be prevented by vaccination is unknown, as is the severity of the sickness if it develops.
- Vaccinations offer more than just safety for your child. Prevention of disease through immunization requires group effort. All members of the community, including infants too young to receive vaccinations, need the support of families, medical experts, and public health officials.
Children of School Age
Preschool and elementary school environments are breeding grounds for the spread of many communicable diseases that can be prevented with vaccines. Children who are free from easily avoidable illnesses are better able to concentrate in class.
- Infectious disease outbreaks are common in schools, and school-aged children can spread the disease to their families and others.
- Somebody needs to stay home to take care of the sick kid and run errands to the doctor when a kid is sick with something like whooping cough, chicken pox, or the flu.
- Vaccination has reduced the incidence of measles in the United States; as a result, the disease is now far less prevalent than it was before vaccines were widely available.
Preteens & Teens
Vaccines have a critical role in preventing sickness in young people and securing their future health. To protect their children from 16 different diseases, parents should consider getting them vaccinated. Especially in newborns and young children, vaccine-preventable illnesses can have devastating effects, including hospitalization and death.
There are four essential immunizations for adolescents to prevent potentially fatal diseases:
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine a prophylactic measure against meningitis and blood illnesses (septicemia).
- The human papillomavirus vaccine, which helps prevent malignancies caused by HPV.
- The tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine provides protection against these diseases (pertussis).
- Vaccination against seasonal influenza once a year
Make sure you’re up-to-date on your vaccines before getting pregnant for a good start for your baby.
- It is recommended that all routine immunizations be up to date before attempting pregnancy. Preventable infections like rubella can be avoided with the use of vaccines.
- Live immunizations should be administered at least one month before conception. Vaccines given to a pregnant woman should not cause a child to develop normally (the viruses or bacteria in the vaccine are killed rather than weakened).
- Pregnancy-related complications can be avoided if you are fully vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Pregnancy-related rubella infection is associated with an increased risk of having a stillborn or miscarried baby, as well as a higher risk of other birth abnormalities. Influenza and tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccinations are two that women are often encouraged to have while pregnant.
- A flu shot is safe for pregnant women to have at any time. Flu vaccination can be safely administered to a pregnant woman.
- Pregnant women should have the Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (whooping cough).
- Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still widely spread in other regions of the world despite their low incidence in the United States. A pregnant lady should consult her doctor before booking an international trip.
- Vaccines protect you and your unborn child from contracting and spreading dangerous infections.
- Fetuses in their developing stages are more vulnerable to the potentially deadly effects of the virus. It’s more likely that they’ll get a very bad case of the flu than non-pregnant ladies.
- Babies can develop life-threatening complications from whooping cough.
Adults should get vaccinated against diseases including the flu, shingles, pneumonia, hepatitis, and whooping cough to protect themselves and their families.
- Serious consequences from vaccine-preventable infections are more common in older individuals and adults with specific chronic disorders.
- All adults, including those who otherwise seem healthy, should get immunized against the many preventable diseases that are all too common in the United States.
- Certain cancer vaccinations are effective at warding off the disease. Liver cancer is a serious consequence of chronic hepatitis B infection, although it is preventable with the hepatitis B vaccine. Cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers are preventable due to the HPV vaccine.
- Vaccination is crucial because it protects not just the vaccinated individual, but also others around them, notably the young, the elderly, and those with preexisting medical issues or a compromised immune system, who are at the highest risk of developing a life-threatening infection.
Likely, most adults are still missing certain necessary vaccinations.
- Far too few adults are getting the needed vaccinations, putting themselves and their families at risk of contracting dangerous diseases.
- The vaccination rates of a population are directly correlated with the efforts of health care providers to inform patients about the need of staying up-to-date on their vaccinations.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages all doctors, nurses, and other medical staff to prescribe vaccinations to their patients regularly, regardless of whether or not they administer shots.
- Vaccines are important for adults, and they should talk to their doctor about the ones they need.
Vaccines have saved millions of lives and prevented innumerable cases of illness and impairment. Thank goodness, modern immunizations have made life-threatening diseases like measles, pertussis, and polio extremely rare. Maintaining a current immunization status is crucial for you and your loved ones’ health. Given that August is National Immunization Awareness Month, now is an excellent opportunity to resume regular immunizations.