We prepare our children for a bike ride with helmets to cushion the inevitable fall and we depend on car seats to avoid serious injury in a crash. When it comes to the health of our little ones, vaccinating is one of the best things you can do to prevent them from serious and sometimes deadly diseases.
Diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough have become rare due to the effectiveness of vaccines. Polio has essentially disappeared in this country and bacterial meningitis (infection of the brain) has been dramatically reduced. However, we have seen recent measles outbreaks in Washington and on the East Coast, mostly because parents are not vaccinating their children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), communities with low vaccine rates are more likely to have an outbreak. Vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective. Avoid social movements when it comes to making decisions about the health of your children and trust your pediatrician – they are the experts. Vaccinations protect your kids from conditions that include temporary or permanent respiratory issues, paralysis, neurological complications, brain damage and pneumonia.
With back-to-school physicals around the corner, use this time to confirm with your doctor that your children are up to date on their vaccination schedules. Consider the following:
- Review any information provided by your doctor about the vaccination
- After a shot, children may develop mild side effects such as a rash or fever – these are all signs that their immune system is responding to the vaccine
- Use a cool, wet cloth to relieve any redness or surface-level reaction where the shot was given
- Use an acetaminophen (like Tylenol) or ibuprofen after the visit to treat fever, fussiness or pain from the vaccination
- Give your little one lots of fluids to make sure that they stay hydrated
For more information regarding vaccinations, schedules and more, consult with your pediatrician. You can also visit the CDC’s resource guide at cdc.gov/vaccines.
Article by Dr. James Horspool, DO, Valley Children’s Healthcare
This article originally appeared in the August edition of Central California Parent Magazine.