If you are part of a family with children, odds are you took a vacation at some point this summer. Whether out of state to a famous theme park, or even out of the country to visit family and friends back home, there’s one thing every kid has in common: the need for up-to-date immunizations as school starts back up.
This time of year is a great time to make sure your children are protected against easily transmittable diseases to keep themselves, their families, their classmates, and their teachers all healthy and ready to take on the challenges of the academic year ahead.
Traveling abroad, especially as a child, can expose you to a whole slew of new germs and illnesses that have never touched your system before. Unfortunately, many countries do not have the same guidelines for vaccines among children or adults that the US does, which can lead to germs heading back to the US with you when the trip ends.
What Vaccines Does My Child Need?
The federal government recommends 14 vaccines for children ages 0-6, including preventatives for diphtheria, pertussis, rubella, tetanus, mumps, rubella, and influenza. Babies are born with certain protection from diseases because their mothers have passed the protection on to them before birth. This sort of protection is temporary, however, and must be supplemented by real immunization.
How Do Vaccines Work?
There are four main types of vaccines:
- Attenuated (weakened) vaccines use live viruses such as for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). This weakened virus allows the immune system to create a defense against it, so that if it is encountered later, it can fight the germ again.
- Killed (inactivated) viruses are used in vaccines like IPV (polio). Killing the virus means it cannot replicate itself and spread, but it remains intact so that the immune system can recognize it if it returns.
- Toxoid vaccines are a product of bacteria associated with a disease and are also inactivated. Vaccines for tetanus and diphtheria are constructed this way.
- Conjugate vaccines combine bacteria like those above with proteins. They use only a piece of the bacteria to generate a strong immune response to protect against future infection.
Are There Risks from Vaccines?
All medicines carry with them a small degree of risk. Since nearly all immunizations are delivered by needle into the bloodstream, mild reactions such as a slight fever or soreness around the injection area are not uncommon. More serious reactions do happen, but are rare, and are often due to a previously unknown allergy. In the event that your child appears to have any serious symptoms, including difficulty breathing, unexplained swelling, unexplained bleeding, dizziness, etc., contact your pediatrician or take your child to an emergency care facility immediately.
The health of your children’s immune system is very important, so keeping on top of immunizations should be taken into consideration as your child gets back into the classroom. Our experienced staff is here to provide the community with the utmost quality of services to help our community. Albuquerque ER & Hospital is here to support your family 24/7, 365 with concierge-level emergency care for all ages.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Albuquerque ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
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