Immunization: Go Beyond the Injections to Understand More!

Immunization for children and adults

Immunization helps protect children and adults from infectious diseases and is instrumental in curbing the spread of disease and preventing epidemics. Also known as vaccinations or vaccines, they are usually administered as injections to prevent life-threatening conditions. Read on to understand the need for immunization and the common vaccines necessary for children and adults.

What is Immunization?

Vaccines administered are often a tiny amount of weakened or even dead form of the organism that causes the disease. While this dose is not enough to make you succumb to the disease, it is adequate to trigger an individual’s immune system into making antibodies to recognize and attack the organism if exposed to it.

Reasons to Get Immunized

Vaccines do not guarantee prevention from the disease, but the extent of the affliction can be drastically reduced; they are often life-saving, in fact! Here are a few other reasons why vaccinations are essential:

  • Protection from dangerous diseases.
  • Help reduce epidemics and the spread of diseases.
  • Often mandatory when children are in school or if adults need to travel abroad.
  • Immunization costs are considerably lesser than cost of treatment for the disease you are protected from.
  • Immunization during pregnancy can protect the foetus from diseases and infections.

 

Immunization Recommended for Children and Adolescents

Immunization shots begin shortly after birth. Most mandatory vaccines are administered to a child during the first 2 years of life. Booster shots (vaccines that need to be repeated later) are given periodically over time as needed. Post the age of 6 years and during adolescence, fewer shots are needed, but are just as important and must not be skipped.  

It is imperative to maintain a good record of your child’s vaccinations, including a list of any reactions or known allergies to any vaccines. Your physician is the best person to draw up an immunization chart for your children. This chart can include vaccines for:

  • Chickenpox
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (also referred to as whooping cough)
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Bacterial meningitis

 

Vaccines Recommended for Adults

When it comes to adults, the vaccines recommended depend on various conditions: age, lifestyle, health status, pregnancy, travel plans, and very importantly, other individuals you are in close contact with. A few vaccines recommended for adults include:

  • Influenza
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Pneumococcal
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis
  • Rabies
  • Meningococcal
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B

 

Side Effects of Vaccines

The side effects of vaccines are generally minor, if they occur at all. They may include:

  • Soreness, redness, or mild swelling at the injection site
  • Mild fever
  • Drowsiness
  • Poor appetite
  • Mild rash 7 – 14 days after chickenpox or measles-mumps-rubella vaccination
  • Joint pain for a few days after a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine

Any serious reactions like breathing difficulty or high fever must be reported and checked with a physician at the earliest.

Thinking of a trip overseas or worried about your exposure to any
illness around you? Talk to a doctor about which vaccines you need.

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