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Health Information For Parents
Babies are born with protection against some diseases because their mothers pass antibodies (proteins made by the body to fight disease) to them before birth. Breastfed babies continue to get more antibodies in breast milk. But in both cases, the protection is temporary.
Immunization (vaccination) is a way to create immunity to (protection from) some diseases. This is done by using small amounts of a killed or weakened germ that causes the disease.
Germs can be viruses (such as the measles virus) or bacteria (such as pneumococcus). Vaccines stimulate the immune system to react as if there were a real infection. It fends off the “infection” and remembers the germ. Then, it can fight the germ if it enters the body later.
There are a few different types of vaccines. They include:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids get combination vaccines (rather than single vaccines) whenever possible. Many vaccines are offered in combination to help reduce the number of shots a child receives.
The following vaccinations and schedules are recommended by the AAP. Some variations are normal, and recommendations change as new vaccines are developed. Your doctor will talk to you about the right vaccinations and schedule for your child.
Some parents may hesitate to have their kids vaccinated. They have questions or worry that a child might have a serious reaction or get the illness the vaccine prevents. But the components of vaccines are weakened or killed. In some cases, only parts of the germ are used. So they’re unlikely to cause any serious illness.
Some vaccines may cause mild reactions, such as soreness where the shot was given or a fever. But serious reactions are rare. The risks of vaccinations are small compared with the health risks of the diseases they’re intended to prevent.
Immunizations are one of the best means of protection against contagious diseases.
Which vaccines does your child need and when? Use this immunization schedule as a handy reference.
Immunizations have protected millions of children from potentially deadly diseases. Learn about immunizations and find out exactly what they do – and what they don’t.
The flu vaccine is a good idea for all families. It does not cause the flu, and it helps keep kids and parents from getting sick.
Find out what the experts have to say.
This is the long word for what most kids know as shots.
If you’re old enough to read this, you’ve probably had most of your shots. But even bigger kids may need a shot once in a while. Find out more about them in this article for kids.
Missing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little “ouch” moment protects you from some major health problems.
The HPV vaccine can help protect against the virus that causes genital warts and may lead to some kinds of cancer. Find out more in this article for teens.
If you’re afraid of shots, you’re not alone. Next time your doc asks you to roll up your sleeve, try these tips.
Just about everybody needs a flu shot. Find out more in this article for kids.
Doctors recommend that all teens get vaccinated against the flu. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a shot. Here are the facts on flu vaccines.
Vaccines help keep kids healthy, but many parents still have questions about them. Get answers here.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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