Immunizations

Immunizations

The importance of immunizations

Immunization is key to preventing disease among the general population. Vaccines benefit both the people who receive them, and the vulnerable, unvaccinated people around them, because the infection can no longer spread through the community if most people are immunized. In addition, immunizations reduce the number of deaths and disability from infections, such as measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox.

Although children receive the majority of the vaccinations, adults also need to be sure they are already immune to certain infections and/or stay up-to-date on certain vaccinations, including varicella, seasonal influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, rubella, zoster, human papillomavirus (HPV) in females, pneumococcal (polysaccharide), hepatitis A and B, and meningococcal. Childhood illnesses, such as mumps, measles, and chickenpox can cause serious complications in adults.

About guidelines for childhood immunizations

Many childhood diseases can now be prevented by following recommended guidelines for vaccinations:

A child's first vaccination is given at birth. Immunizations are scheduled throughout childhood, with many beginning within the first few months of life. By following a regular schedule, and making sure a child is immunized at the right time, you are ensuring the best defense against dangerous childhood diseases.

Please visit the Online Resources page for the most up-to-date guidelines from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Reactions to immunizations

As with any medication, vaccinations may cause reactions, usually in the form of a sore arm or low-grade fever. Although serious reactions are rare, they can happen, and your child's doctor or nurse may discuss these with you before giving the shots. However, the risks of contracting the diseases the immunizations provide protection from are higher than the risks for having a reaction to the vaccine.

Treating mild reactions to immunizations in children

Aspirin and the risk of Reye's syndrome in children

Aspirin should not be given to children or teenagers because of the risk for Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease. Therefore, pediatricians and other health care providers recommend that aspirin not be used to treat any fever in children.

If more serious symptoms occur, call your child's physician right away. These symptoms may include:

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Pediatrics

 

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