If the recent measles outbreak in California has taught us anything, it’s the importance of vaccinations. Vaccinations have gotten an unfair shake lately, thanks to some unwarranted media attention. All parents want to do what is best for their children. The truth is that vaccinating your children is one of the best ways to protect them from some pretty terrible diseases that could otherwise make them very sick or even die.
It’s important to understand how vaccinations work. A vaccine isn’t a magic shot that can prevent your child from getting a disease. What an immunization does is give your child’s immune system the tools it needs to help fight against a disease if they ever come into contact with it. Here are some benefits to vaccinating your children.
- It can save their lives. Vaccinations protect children against more diseases than ever before. Before immunizations, diseases like polio were responsible for injuring or killing thousands of children. Thanks to vaccines, these deadly diseases have either been eliminated completely or are close to extinction.
- They are safe and effective. Before a vaccine is approved, it is subjected to a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Your child may have some discomfort or tenderness at the injection site after getting a shot, but serious side effects, such as a severe allergic reaction, are very rare. Quite simply, the disease-prevention benefit a vaccine provides far outweighs the possible side effects for almost all children.
- They protect others around you. Unfortunately, not everyone can be vaccinated. Babies have to wait until they’re old enough for certain vaccinations, and other people may not be able to receive certain immunizations because of special circumstances like severe allergies or a weakened immune system from illnesses like leukemia. There has been a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough recently. The best way to protect someone who cannot be vaccinated is to make sure that you and your children are fully immunized. This will help prevent the spread of these diseases to others.
- They can save your family time and money. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities. This can take a heavy financial toll on families due to medical bills, lost time at work or long-term disability care. In addition, a child with a vaccine-preventable disease may not be able to attend some schools or child care facilities. Getting immunized against these diseases, however, can save a lot of time and money in the long run. Vaccines are usually covered by insurance. A federally funded program called Vaccines for Children provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families.
- They protect future generations. Just a few generations ago, diseases like polio or smallpox killed or severely disabled a lot of people. Thanks to vaccines, these diseases have been significantly reduced or completely eradicated today. If we continue to vaccinate our children now, some of the diseases that exist today will no longer be a threat to children in the future.
If you have any questions or concerns about vaccinating your child in Ashburn, VA contact Penguin Pediatrics to schedule an appointment.