Why are immunizations important?
Immunizations protect you from catching contagious diseases. It’s important to keep up to date with your immunizations because common diseases can cause serious complications. Let’s take a look at measles as one example.
Measles is so contagious that 90% of people who get near an infected person will catch the disease if they’re not immune. One in 10 children with measles ends up with an ear infection, and one in 20 develops pneumonia.
One out of every 1,000 children who get measles also develops encephalitis, a serious brain condition, and one or two of every 1,000 children dies from measles. The risk of death from measles is higher in adults and infants than in children, so if you weren’t immunized as a child and have never had measles, now’s the time to arrange your vaccination.
How do immunizations work?
When you receive a vaccination, you take in a very small and weakened amount of the specific disease or infection. In some cases, vaccines are made using a dead virus or bacteria, or dead versions of the toxins that infectious agents produce. As a result, your immune system creates antibodies that identify the invader and attack it if it ever enters your body in the future.
Although immunity also develops when you come down with a contagious disease, immunization gives you protection long before you’re exposed to the actual disease. That means immunization could save you considerable distress, discomfort, money, and time.
What immunizations should adults receive?
At various ages, adults should receive vaccinations — either a full dose or a booster — to prevent:
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)
- Measles, mumps, and rubella
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Pneumococcal disease
- Meningococcal disease
It’s never too late to get immunized against these serious diseases. Pneumococcal and meningococcal diseases include several illnesses such as ear infections, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.
Around the age of 11, you can also consider having your child vaccinated to prevent human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer.
The team at Carreras Medical Center takes pride in providing a robust immunization schedule for patients to protect them from ill health. To learn whether you need an immunization or to schedule an appointment, call the office or make an appointment online.