What are Vaccinations?
Vaccinations, also known as immunizations play a vital role in protecting children and adults from diseases. There are two types of vaccines – live and inactive virus vaccines. The live virus uses tiny amounts of weakened bacteria or viruses that cause disease to stimulate the immune system.
The inactive virus contains the killed virus which produces antibodies that attacks the virus and prevents the infection. Getting vaccinated can actually save your life – it might not prevent disease completely but helps lessens the symptoms.
Why are Vaccinations Important?
Vaccinations are necessary for several reasons and these include:
- Protect children and adults from developing serious diseases
- Reduces the spread of disease to others
- Less expensive than being treated for diseases that vaccinations protect you from
- Required for entrance into daycare facilities, school, college, employment or travel to another country
- Pregnant women have to make sure that their vaccinations are up to date to protect the baby
- Less side effects
The vaccination schedule for children includes the following immunizations to be administered and these include:
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)
- Measles, mumps, and rubella.
- Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis A.
- Bacterial meningitis
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Haemophilus influenza type b disease, or Hib disease
- Pneumococcal disease
- Flu (influenza)
When should vaccinations be given?
Babies are given vaccinations after birth, at 2, 4 and 6 months of age and later at 15 and 18 months. Children will also receive vaccinations between the ages of 4 and 6 years. After the age of 6 years, a child needs fewer vaccinations but older children and adolescents will still need some vaccinations.
It is important to have children vaccinated as early as possible to protect against diseases. In addition, it may be necessary to provide proof of immunization when enrolling children at daycare and school, enrolling at college or traveling to a foreign destination.
Vaccinations for adults generally depend on your age, gender, lifestyle, travel locations, overall health and previous vaccines that you had as a child. Your health practitioner will be able to inform you about which vaccines you may need.
The immunization schedule for adults includes:
• Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPV)
• Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis
• Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
• Hepatitis A and/or B
Additional immunizations may be required for people whose risk of exposure to disease may be increased and these include:
• Meningococcal (MCV4 or MPSV4, depending on your age)
• Human papillomavirus (HPV) for women
Side Effects of Vaccinations
Vaccines often cause mild side effects such as pain, swelling or redness at the site of the injection, slight fever, crankiness, loss of appetite or a mild rash (especially after chickenpox or measles-mumps-rubella shots). Although serious side effects such do occur, they are very rare. Serious side effects may include a fever over 104.5F, breathing difficulties or a severe allergic reaction.
Delaying or avoiding vaccinations
If your child is ill at the time of vaccination, then vaccination should be delayed until they are feeling better. However, mild illnesses should not prevent immunization. Children who suffer from seizures or neurological disorders should not receive a pertussis vaccine but may be given a diphtheria and tetanus vaccine instead.
People with severe allergic reactions to eggs or egg protein, antibiotic medications, gelatin or with a specific vaccine should avoid vaccination. The live virus vaccines which include the MMR and varicella vaccine should not be given to people with weakened immune systems, those who have received a blood transfusion or immune serum globulin, or women who are pregnant. The influenza virus has proven to be safe to use during pregnancy.
Natural and holistic versions of the flu vaccine have proven to boost the immune system, and help fight infections and diseases. The natural version of the vaccine does not contain live crude virus. Not only are these remedies safe to use but they are gentle on the body without being addictive.
Herbs such as Hypoxis Rooperi, Agathosma Betulina (buchu), Mentha Piperita, Solidago Virgaurea (Goldenrod) and Viscum Album helps to build your natural defenses, overall health and wellbeing. Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceous, Inula helenium and Withania somnifera are also immunity-enhancing herbs used to promote healing and vitality. Homeopathic ingredients such as Influenzinum, Bacillinum, Gelsemium and Nux vomica may be used as a natural alternative to protect against the current flu virus.
Tips to prevent bacterial and viral disease
There are several things that you can to protect yourself against bacterial and viral infections and diseases and these include:
- Wash your hands thoroughly often and thoroughly – before eating, when preparing food, after visiting the bathroom, handling pets and being outside
- Cover your coughs and sneezes by using a tissue rather than your hand
- Eat a healthy, well balanced diet filled with fresh fruit, vegetables, protein, vitamins and other essential nutrients
- Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to flush toxins from the body’s system
- Exercise regularly for your overall health and wellbeing
- Eat yogurt daily – studies show that yogurt contains beneficial bacteria that boosts the immune system and helps fight disease
- Stop smoking naturally as it damages your lungs and other organs of the body
- Drink alcohol in moderation as can cause serious health problems
- Learn to relax and manage your stress by listening to soothing music, practicing breathing exercises, visualization techniques or meditation
- Incorporate multivitamins into your daily routine