The new school year is upon us. Are your children up to date on their yearly check-ups and vaccinations?
Going to the doctor for immunizations is important for children to prevent them from getting sick from diseases that you may think are extinct but still exist, such as measles and whooping cough. In recent years, we have seen breakouts of each. Vaccinations are made to protect children in times like these when old diseases surface.
Vaccines are given to children in order to start building up antibodies to fight diseases that they may be exposed to during school or out doing daily activities. When administered, children are given an inactive, or weakened, virus. This allows the body to detect the virus and build a system that so it knows how to fight the disease if the child ever comes into contact with it.
Many parents worry about vaccinations because of the associated myths like links to autism, children’s immune systems being overwhelmed or children being too young for vaccines. It is important to understand why these are just misconceptions.
The myth that autism can be caused by vaccines was proclaimed by a British doctor, who has since lost his medical license. His claim that measles vaccine leads to autism has been disproven through many replicated studies, which have found no link between the two.
Second, children have strong immune systems, which vaccines only help to improve. Their bodies are constantly working to build up antibodies to make them stronger. Their immune systems are not compromised by the vaccines. Rather, the vaccines help their bodies to fight diseases they come into contact with on a daily basis.
Lastly, some believe that they should wait longer to give their children vaccines. Immunizations are on a set schedule, however, to prevent children from getting the sick before they are likely to come in contact with the disease. The vaccine schedules are in place to keep your child and the children around them safe.
There are many vaccines today that have different names, dose sizes and possible side effects. I recommend that parents get to know more by talking with their physician.
For more information, contact your doctor or visit CarilionClinic.org.
Jeremy A. Llavore, M.D., is a Carilion Clinic Family Medicine physician based in Boones Mill, Va. Learn more about where Dr. Llavore went to medical school and where you can find him when he's not caring for patients.