Any parent can attest to how hectic life with kids can be. It can sometimes feel hard to keep up with all the different things you need to keep track of for your child and your family. Even the most diligent parents can sometimes forget something as it slips through the cracks of their busy schedules.

One of the things you shouldn’t let fall to the wayside is keeping up with immunizations. Immunizations help protect your child from harmful diseases, and with the help of a skilled pediatrician, you can keep your child’s immunizations up-to-date.

In this blog, Nicolette Marak, MD, of Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, discusses why immunizations are important, what they protect against, how they work, and the schedule she recommends for her patients.

Why do vaccines matter?

Immunizations, also known as vaccines, are the best way to protect your child against preventable diseases. Large-scale immunization programs wiped out smallpox and polio in the United States, saving thousands of lives in the process.

In addition to preventing sickness, vaccines also help shield children from the long-term effects of many diseases, including paralysis, deafness, brain damage, and even death.

What diseases do vaccines protect against?

Immunizations help prevent a long list of diseases, including:

  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Chickenpox
  • Rotavirus
  • Pneumococcal infection
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)
  • Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Polio
  • Flu

Some immunizations, including those for measles, mumps, and rubella, can be delivered in the same shot. This has been shown to be safe and is recommended by both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

During some appointments, your child may get multiple shots. This is safe, and it can be less traumatic for your child, because it minimizes the number of appointments where they’ll need to get shots.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines work by placing a small amount of a dead or severely weakened germ inside the body. In some cases, just a small piece of a disease-causing germ is used.

Even though the germ is not likely to be harmful, the vaccine stimulates the immune system to react to the germ and fend off the infection. The immune system then remembers how to fight the germ when the real thing comes around later.

When should vaccines be given?

Dr. Marak recommends the immunization schedule approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. The bulk of immunizations are concentrated in your child’s first six months.

Babies are at a higher risk of getting sick or dying from many diseases because their immune systems are not fully developed. Although mothers do pass down some immunity to their children, this immunity doesn’t last and doesn’t cover the long list of diseases that a baby needs protection against.

If you’re not sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date, you don’t have to start over. Dr. Marak can get your child up to speed and start a record that will help keep you on track in the future.

To learn more about immunizations and keep your child healthy, call (205) 494-7337 with Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics today.


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