August is National Immunization Month and a good reminder that being immunized is beneficial for all–children and adults. Immunization is an efficient way to build up an individual’s immunity to fight infectious diseases.
Two main reasons to consider immunizations:
- Shield your body against harmful diseases
- Protect the people around you by preventing the spread of diseases to others
The best way to protect children from diseases
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been encouraging parents to immunize children for decades. In the words of American Academy of Pediatrics President Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, “Vaccines are simply the best way to protect our children from these viruses and bacteria that can cause real and devastating harm.”
What Happens During Immunization?
Immunization is typically administered through injection of a weakened form of disease into the body. The idea is to let the immune system identify the organisms found in the disease so that it can produce antibodies or activate other defense mechanisms that improve immunity. When the body is immunized, its immune system becomes fortified against diseases that may plague the system. With the immune system already exposed, the next time the real organisms invade, the immune system is already prepared to fight back and can effectively prevent sickness.
As immunizations stop a disease at one person, this prevents the spread of diseases to other people. This implies that immunization is highly important, not just for a selected group of people but for the population at large.
Immunizations are a proven method of controlling and eradicating life-threatening diseases. The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) estimates that millions of illnesses and disabilities across the world could be minimized and more lives could be saved with efficient, worldwide immunizations.
Check out www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules to see if your immunizations are up to date.