Immunizations, also called vaccinations, are given to children to help prevent or reduce certain illnesses, diseases, infections, and other epidemics. Most immunizations are given with a shot, some just one time while others need to be given multiple times. Most immunizations are actually given a dead form of the organism that would cause the disease, thus strengthening the immune system against catching the disease, but not giving the child the disease from this organism. The body is able to make antibodies to protect against it in the future.

Benefits of Immunizations

Not every parent will get their child vaccinated as they are recommended, but not mandatory. However there are some benefits to consider when trying to make the final decision. Your child could be protected from dangerous diseases, it helps stop the spread of disease to others, it costs much less than being treated for the diseases you’re protecting from, there are few side effects to most vaccinations, and many schools or day care centers require vaccinations. They aren’t just for children, adults may need vaccinations as well. For example, if you’re pregnant you might need vaccinations if you have never had them, to protect your baby. People traveling abroad might also need certain immunizations.

Recommended Immunizations

For children and adolescents, there is a specific schedule for when certain vaccinations are recommended. The different immunizations include bacterial meningitis, chicken pox, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, flu, haemophilus influenza type b disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, measles, rubella, mumps, pneumococcal disease, polio, and rotavirus. Immunizations for children often start shortly after birth and follow a schedule up until they reach 23 months old. There are some booster shots that are given later in life, such as shortly before beginning school. After the child turns 6, there are few shots left to get. Some adults may also need immunizations depending on whether or not they had vaccines as a child and their overall health or situation. These include chicken pox, flu, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, measles, mumps, rubella, pneumococcal disease, polio, shingles, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Doctors usually give shots, but pharmacists are able to administer some such as the flu shot.

Side Effects

There are few side effects, though they vary depending on the person and their reaction to the vaccinations. Possible side effects include a slight fever, redness, mild swelling, soreness in the shot area, drowsiness, irritability, lack of appetite, a rash lasting 7-14 days following a measles, mumps and rubella shot or the chicken pox sot, and temporary joint pain after the measles, mumps and rubella shot. Serious side effects are rare but include trouble breathing and having a fever over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

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