Between last year’s measles outbreak in Ventura County and this year’s recent infection at a local elementary school parents are encouraged to double check that their child is up-to-date on their immunizations with their family practice in Thousand Oaks. When it’s time for your child’s shot it’s normal to be a little apprehensive: after all no parent wants to see their child scared or in pain. Fortunately most vaccinations cause little more than a brief sting, and you can do many things before and during the appointment to calm your child’s fears.
Vaccines to protect against becoming infected with serious diseases have done more to save people than all of medicine combined. Yes, there are terrific advances in medical science that can save people who contract diseases or need surgical intervention; however, not getting sick in the first place should always be the primary goal, and vaccines are a great help in this area.
Common and Not-So-Common Diseases Vaccines Can Prevent
The Centers for Disease Control published a list of vaccine-preventable diseases. Here is a sampling from the list:
Cancer from Human Papillomavirus
Hepatitis A and B
Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
There are risks to vaccines; however, in most situations the risks associated with contracting the illnesses that vaccines can prevent are worse. Most people that get vaccinated do not even have a sore spot on their arm where the vaccine was injected. It is important to tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies such as an allergy to eggs or the preservatives used in some vaccines.
Vaccines and Autism
Several scientific studies have been completed to investigate any correlation with vaccines and autism in children. The findings indicate no such correlation exists. The concern centered around the preservative thimerosal, which is used in multiple dose vials of vaccines. If you are concerned about thimerosal and your child, ask for vaccines that do not contain it.
The Flu Vaccine Cannot Give You the Flu
There is a myth that is perpetually spread that you can get the flu from the flu vaccine. Injected influenza vaccines contain dead viral strains that cannot replicate. It is not possible to be infected with the flu by getting a flu shot. The nasal spray influenza vaccines contain a live-attenuated (weakened) version of viral strains. Both cause your body to develop immunity by activating your immune system. As with most vaccines, the most common side effect is a slight soreness at the injection site. A few others may sense their immune system kicking into gear. It is possible to have already been exposed to a virus prior to the vaccine or to acquire a strain the vaccine does not protect against. Plus, it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to do its job.
Deadly diseases such as polio and smallpox have almost been wiped out because of vaccines. The fears parents have of vaccines today is misplaced. Imagine the real fears if polio, smallpox and other diseases were rampant with no protection against them. Start a discussion with your doctor to find out the real facts about vaccines.
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