One of the early decisions that we as parents had to make for our daughter was regarding vaccinations. This is something that our parents didn’t really think of since it was before the advent of google and the information age. For our parents it was really simple; a doctor you trust recommends something, you comply.
But with so much information available and so many different views on vaccine usage, it is important for us parents to know certain facts, coming from industry stalwarts that will help us truly understand how vaccines help.
Children’s immunity is one of the common concerns that parents have. They are worried that vaccines overload the child’s immune system. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that babies’ immune systems can handle the number of recommended vaccines (aap.org) according to the vaccination schedule because they are exposed to multiple germs on a daily basis. So a healthy baby’s immune system can accommodate multiple vaccinations. In fact, babies’ immune systems can respond to approximately 100,000 organisms at once. The antigens in vaccines use only a small fraction of a baby’s immune system response.
Weakened immune System
Sometimes, parents feel that relying on vaccines would weaken the immune system of the children. This actually is the opposite. Since vaccination actually helps prepare the body for certain critical illnesses that are dangerous if someone is infected.
Vaccines contain either a dead or a weakened germ that causes these diseases. The body gets practice to fight diseases by making antibodies that recognize specific parts of that germ. This permanent or longstanding response means that if someone is ever exposed to the actual disease, the antibodies are already in place and the body knows how to combat it and the person will not get sick.
Post Vaccine illness
Another common thing that worries parents is the baby falling ill post getting the vaccine. This does happen sometime and children develop minor complaints like fever, local swelling, and pain. But this should not infuse fear amongst parents against vaccination. The message is loud and clear: That vaccination is safe and an effective way to save children from life threating diseases.
In fact, vaccines are like health insurance for our children. And it is not that the bodies recommend vaccines for any and every disease. We must understand as parents that there are certain diseases known to have high impact on our health and also have a history of high mortality rates. In such cases it is better that our bodies have developed the antigens required and are trained to fight such diseases. The little discomfort that might occur when the vaccines are given, are a small inconvenience if we look at the bigger picture.
Vaccines are the best preventive care option we have at our disposal as parents. These facts will surely help parents understand the vast benefits that vaccinations have to offer our children and help them have a healthier life.
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