Understanding Vaccines and Why They’re Good for Children’s Health

Pediatric office

There’s a debate raging in the modern world of pediatric care, and it’s all over the future health of our children.

Concerned parent groups have taken issue with vaccines and immunizations, claiming potential links to autism and other developmental problems in kids. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics all assert the safety and, most importantly, the effectiveness of getting children vaccinated when they’re still infants. So, who’s right?

To answer that, we must first look at the numbers.

  1. A child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could have been prevented with a vaccine, UNICEF reports.
  2. The odds of a child developing a serious side effect from a vaccine are approximately one in a million.
  3. There have been staggering decreases in disease outbreaks since vaccines became prominent in the medical world.

All we know are the facts, and the facts seem to speak for themselves. But it’s understandable that parents might still be skeptical about immunizing their children because they don’t understand what the process actually entails. As such, here’s a quick overview of what vaccines do.

Protecting the Body

Immunizations introduce tiny portions of infectious germs called antigens into the child’s body so that he or she may develop a resistance to fight it. The antigen is not enough to get the child physically sick from the germ; rather, it’s just a small amount from which he or she can begin to build up antibodies to fight it. Once the immunity is established, the bacteria shouldn’t be able to get the child sick again in the future.

Recognizing the Side Effects

Because vaccines are central to pediatric care, doctors have taken strides to ensure all side effects are minimal. The most commonly reported issues after a vaccination are usually skin-related, which makes sense given how several needles have to penetrate an infant’s delicate tissue. There may be some pain and swelling and perhaps even itchiness (which will be unpleasant), but remember that it’s all for the enduring health of your child.

How to Find Pediatricians

When it comes time to immunize your child, finding a pediatrician that has plenty of experience in his or her field is key. You want someone who can handle your child’s medical work — both routine and emergency — for the next 15 years or so, which means you want someone who knows what he or she is doing. Ideally, you will have found a pediatric care doctor while still pregnant, but if not, ask your friends and family members for some recommendations or find a list of pediatricians online.

Vaccines are essential, and noticing autism warning signs in children shortly after vaccinating them is likely pure coincidence, as these symptoms begin to manifest around the same time immunization would take place. For more information, always consult your pediatric physician with specific questions in mind. Links like this.

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