As any pediatrician or doctor will tell you, it is far easier and better to prevent diseases and illnesses from happening in the first place than it is to treat the infection once it’s occurred. While good hygiene and sanitary practices are important for keeping your kids and family safe, this isn’t always fail proof. One of the most effective ways in which our pediatricians Dr. Sara Rickman and Dr. Rhonda Wyland here at Pediatric Specialists of Pendleton can protect children from potentially dangerous infectious diseases is by making sure that they get vaccinated.
Why are vaccines so important for children?
There was a time when diseases such as smallpox and polio caused devastating consequences for the health of both children and adults. Vaccines save lives. In fact, they have saved millions of lives and because of vaccines, we no longer have to worry about deadly infections such as smallpox anymore.
How do vaccines protect my child against certain diseases?
When a child is infected with a virus, their body’s immune system kicks into overdrive, producing antibodies that can help them fight the infection. Unfortunately, since the body has never seen this type of foreign invader before, your child gets sick; however, once their immune system has come into contact with that specific infection, it will have the antibodies needed to fight it the next time and to avoid future illnesses.
However, it is far better to protect your child from being infected in the first place, especially since some infectious diseases have some detrimental long-term effects to your health. This is where vaccines come in. Vaccines contain either a dead or weakened version of the virus, which is just strong enough to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies but is weak enough that it doesn’t make your child sick. Vaccines help your child safely build immunity to many communicable diseases.
Along with protecting your child and your family, getting kids immunized also protects the community at large. The more children are vaccinated the less concern there is for an outbreak of a potentially dangerous disease. Vaccines also prevent unnecessary doctor and hospital visits, reduce the amount of sick days your child has to deal with and can be incredibly cost effective.