Thursday, January 16, 2014

Time to Immunize!

Out with the old, in with the new! We live in a world blessed by the miracle of modern medicine. Growing up I wasn't plagued by fear of contracting polio as were the children of the 1940s and 1950s, or subjected to the panic surrounding diphtheria during the 1920s. My parents were given the opportunity to protect me from these terrors. I grew up receiving regular immunizations. As the New Year begins it’s time to take a look at your children’s immunization records! 
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Keeping your child’s immunizations up to date is an important way to protect them from potentially harmful diseases. A pregnant mother helps protect her child by passing on antibodies. These antibodies provide temporary immunization through the placenta, and then later through breast milk. However, after breastfeeding stops they no longer have this wonderful protection from mom. This is where immunizations come in! 

So what is an immunization? Immunizations are microbes (bacteria or viruses) that have been killed or weakened so that they don't cause disease. Instead, they act as a switch that turns on your immune system and helps you create the appropriate antibodies so that when the real thing comes along, you'll be ready! According to the World Health Organization, every year immunizations are estimated to prevent almost 6 million deaths world wide! Here in the United States we have seen a 99% decrease in the incidence of diseases for which immunizations are recommended. 

Remembering dates, schedules, and details of your child's immunizations can be tricky! An easy to follow guide for parents can be found here, as well as a printable worksheet for tracking and recording your child’s immunizations. If you have any questions or concerns they should be brought up with your child's pediatrician. If your child hasn't received immunizations and you are considering it now, remember that it's never too late! Start this year by giving your children them their best "shot" possible! 

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