Infant and Children | November 21, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
While parenting can be a great joy, it is a fact that being a parent means that you become extra vigilant and worry about the health and safety of your children. With the myriad of different diseases and infections, some potentially seriously harmful or even deadly, parents are well within their rights to be cautious.
One precautionary measure parents can take to ensure the health of their children is childhood immunization.
Vaccines reduce morbidity and mortality by reducing the occurrence of severe infectious diseases. Immunizations begin in infancy and may be continued well into adulthood. Immunization offers protection against illnesses such as polio, diphtheria, and Haemophilus influenza meningitis by exposing healthy individuals to immunogenic materials that stimulate immunity to those pathogens.
Basically, in most childhood immunizations, shots are given that contain trace amounts of a weakened or dead type of the very same organism that causes the disease that is being immunized against. The trace amount administered through the vaccination is too insignificant that the recipient cannot contract the actual disease from it, but is enough to trigger your immune system to build antibodies that are later able to recognize and attack the organism in case you are ever exposed to it.
While some vaccinations only require once off shots, other immunizations require multiple doses over time to help your body be able to fight the disease. Moreover, even when a vaccine does not entirely prevent a particular disease, it will still make the disease much less severe if you do contract it.
While there are widespread speculations about the necessity or even the safety of immunizations, especially with regards to children, it is a fact that the benefits of childhood immunization far outweighs any potential risks associated with immunizing children. The benefits of childhood immunization include the following:
Parents have been especially alarmed since claims have been made about a possible link between autism and vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella. However, thorough studies have found no actual link between any vaccines and autism.
Other questions are whether thimerosal which is used as a preservative in vaccines and contains mercury may be the autism-causing culprit. Studies into the possibility of mercury-containing thimerosal vaccines and autism have not found a link between the two.
The use of thimerosal as a preservative in vaccines has since been limited.
Moreover, governing and authority bodies including two major government agencies, together with vaccine makers and other authority groups continually observe, study, and keep track of adverse events that occur after vaccines are given.
Side effects from vaccines are minor, in case these even occur at all. These side effects will usually present within the first few hours of the vaccination shots and should disappear within a few hours to a few days at the most. If your child has any of these side effects that persist for longer than a few days, you should consult with a doctor or a pharmacist.
Call your doctor immediately if your child has any of the rare severe reactions such as trouble breathing or a high fever
Immunizations begin immidiately after birth, and many of the vaccines are spread throughout a child’s first 23 months of life.
Once a child reaches 6 years of age, fewer immunizations are needed. However, children who are older and even teens still need certain vaccine shots such as bacterial meningitis, tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough.
If you are planning to get pregnant, it is important to speak to your doctor about any immunization or vaccine shots you may have had and which vaccines you may still need to protect your unborn baby. It is also important for those who live with a pregnant woman to ensure that you have had all your necessary vaccines and that these are up-to-date as pregnant women and unborn babies are especially susceptible to infections.
If you travel to any foreign country with your children it is important to ensure that you are informed on all the required immunizations to protect yourself and your children.
Always keep a detailed record of all immunizations that your child has received as well as noting any reactions that occured.
This record may be a necessary requiremnent for enrolment into a school or day care.
This record may also be necessary later for college, employment, or travel.
Group living situations such as a college dormitory, commune or even summer camp may necessitate certain vaccine shots such as those for meningitis.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist about any uncertainties you may have regarding you or your child’s immunization schedule.
Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Institute of Medicine. The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2013 Mar 27. 1, Introduction. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK206953/
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). General recommendations on immunization—recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) MMWR Recommendations and Reports: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2011a;60(2):1–64. [PubMed]
CDC. Vaccination coverage among children in kindergarten—United States, 2011–12 school year. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2012b;61(33):647–652. [PubMed]
Dempsey AF, Schaffer S, Singer D, Butchart A, Davis M, Freed GL. Alternative vaccination schedule preferences among parents of young children. Pediatrics. 2011;128(5):848–856. [PubMed]
Felkin DR, Lezotte DC, Hamman RF, Salmon DA, Chen RT, Hoffman RE. Individual and community risks of measles and pertussis associated with personal exemptions to immunization. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2000;284(24):3145–3150. [PubMed]
Omer SB, Pan WK, Halsey NA, Stokley S, Moulton LH, Navar AM, Pierce M, Salmon DA. Nonmedical exemptions to school immunization requirements: Secular trends and association of state policies with pertussis incidence. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2006;296(14):1757–1763. [PubMed]
Stern AM, Markel H. The history of vaccines and immunization: Familiar patterns, new challenges. Health Affairs. 2005;24(3):611–621. [PubMed]
WHO (World Health Organization). Immunization, vaccines and biologicals. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2012. [September 2012]. http://www.who.int/immunization/policy/immunization_tables/en/index.html.