Posts for tag: immunizations
The importance of immunizations
Childhood immunizations are one of the most important safeguards against communicable diseases and their serious, long-term complications. Your pediatrician closely adheres to the vaccination schedules published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Why? Well, there's nothing more important than your youngster's health and well-being, and immunizations effectively guard them.
Just what is an immunization?
Most immunizations are given as "shots," or injections, but some, such as the Rotavirus vaccine, are oral medications. However administered, vaccines boost your child's immune system in its battle against diseases which easily spread from person to person.
Each vaccine contains a small amount of a killed or weakened micro-organisms. These altered viruses or bacteria raise the body's defenses against a particular illness such as chicken pox. pneumonia, polio, tetanus, and more...up to 14 in all by time your child is two years old, says the CDC.
Are immunizations necessary?
Your pediatrician, his or her colleagues and decades of research prove that vaccines protect the health of individual children and of the community at large. Also called herd immunity, community immunity works best when as many babies and youngsters receive all their "shots" on schedule. Community immunity protects youngsters who cannot receive vaccines because of cancer treatment, HIV infection or other serious reason. It also shields the general population when people travel from countries which cannot provide access to these important medications.
Both the AAP and the CDC publish and recommend set vaccine schedules carried out at well-baby and well-child visits at the doctor's office. In addition, there is a "catch-up" schedule for children who have begun their immunizations late or had them interrupted by illness or other serious concern.
Your pediatrician's services
They're so important. Your child's doctor keeps your child's immunization records and can distribute them to schools, camps, college, sports, daycare and other organizations who require proof of up-to-date vaccines. The doctor also monitors your child for any adverse reactions, although typically, vaccines produce no more than:
- Localized redness and soreness at the injection site
- Low grade fever
- Pain and swelling
Immunizations are an essential part of well-child care. Proper immunizations protect the health of the individual child and protect all children in the community as a whole. Many parents have concerns about immunizations, and may choose to not immunize their children, but it is important to fully understand each immunization. As a parent, you are encouraged to talk to your pediatrician for more information on proper immunization scheduling for your child.
Immunizations for Teenagers and Young Adults
Many parents only think of vaccines as something needed for infants and young children, and that they are less important later in life. However, teenagers and young adults often get a number of vaccine-preventable diseases, including hepatitis B, measles, German measles and chickenpox. Teens and young adults need protection against infectious illnesses as well.
Teenagers are encouraged to see their pediatrician or other physician on a regular basis and should keep an updated record of their immunizations. Many will need more vaccinations as teenagers, particularly if they have not been previously vaccinated against hepatitis B or chickenpox. Important vaccines for your teenager include:
- Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
- Tetanus-diptheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) or tetanus-diptheria (Td) booster
- Hepatitis A
As a responsible parent, it is important for you to be fully informed on the vaccines offered for your child. If you have any questions or concerns, you can talk with your pediatrician.
Despite all of the research supporting the effectiveness of immunizations, many parents still question the safety of vaccines for their little ones. Will they protect my infant from serious disease? Or are the vaccines themselves harmful?
Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their babies from serious childhood diseases ranging from tetanus and mumps to whooping cough and seasonal flu—and have been for more than 50 years. In fact, vaccinations have reduced the number of infections from vaccine-preventable diseases by more than 90%!
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every child receive the protection that immunization provides.
Do vaccines even work?
Yes, vaccines work every year to protect millions of children from serious illnesses. Because infants are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases, if an unvaccinated baby is exposed to a certain germ, the baby’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Therefore it is very important that parents take the necessary steps to ward off harmful complications through immunization.
Are there side effects?
As with any medication, side effects can occur with vaccines. These side effects are usually very minor and include redness or tenderness at the injection site or a low fever, which indicates that the body is reacting positively to the vaccine. Most babies do not experience any side effects from vaccines, and severe reactions are very rare.
Parents have the power to protect their baby from serious illnesses. Deciding not to vaccinate your child could put him at risk for life-threatening childhood diseases. If you have questions about immunization, talk with your pediatrician. You can also visit the sites listed below for additional information and updated immunization schedules.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Food and Drug Administration
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Network for Immunization Information
It’s important that your children get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect them from serious illnesses.
From birth, children should be getting vaccinated by one of our Alexandria, VA pediatricians--Dr. Lisa Rainey, Dr. Perdita Taylor-Zapata or Dr. Denyse Bailey--regularly. Vaccines are designed to protect children, especially school-aged children from contracting illnesses that could pose serious long-term health risks like paralysis. It’s up to you to make sure that your child stays on schedule so that they remain healthy. Here’s what you should know about your child’s vaccination schedule:
How to Record Your Child’s Immunizations
If you need official copies of your child’s immunizations before they can go to school or summer camp, it will be easier to obtain this information if you are keeping great personal records and also keeping your child up-to-date on these inoculations.
If your child has been seeing one of our Alexandria children’s doctors for all of their immunizations, it can be as simple as asking us for a vaccination tracking card so that you can keep track of all the vaccines your child will need throughout their childhood. Of course, you can also print out the vaccine tracker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Bring this sheet with you to your next appointment and have us fill it out. Also, be sure to note the date of each of your child’s inoculations. While it might seem like overkill at the time, you may be glad you have all this information when you need it most.
Immunizations for School-Age Children
Once your child is old enough for childcare or to start school, you may be wondering how to show proof of your child’s immunizations. Each state determines which immunizations are required before a child so they can go to school. If you are unsure which immunizations are required under the state of Virginia, don’t hesitate to ask. We know what vaccines your child will need before they enroll in school.
Don’t let your child fall behind on their immunizations. West End Pediatrics in Alexandria, VA makes it easy for children to get the care they need whenever they need it. We are happy to work with your schedule so that your little one is able to see us as soon as possible.