These days, it’s seldom to see once-feared life-threatening illnesses, such as diphtheria, pertussis, smallpox, poliomyelitis, and rabies. One reason why there are fewer or very rare instances of children acquiring such diseases is because of vaccinations.

What’s a vaccine and how does it work?

A vaccine is a substance that contains a minute part of a disease-causing agent. Some vaccines are weak or dead versions of an aggressive pathogen. A vaccine is introduced into the body to encourage the body to react and produce antibodies or build immunity against a certain type of pathogen.

Once a child is vaccinated against a disease, the body creates two types of cells. One is the memory B cell and the other is the plasma cell. In case the child gets affected by the pathogen that he has already been vaccinated against, the memory B cells will recognize the infective agent straight away. The memory B cells will instantly morph into plasma cells, which then produce antibodies to fight the pathogen. Hence, the child will be protected from the disease.

Are vaccines 100% safe?

Like most medicines, vaccines cannot claim to be 100% safe. Most vaccines have side effects and pediatricians will even warn parents of what side effects to expect or watch out for. For instance, a baby who gets a DTaP vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough/pertussis, may experience vomiting, loss of appetite, tenderness at the site of injection, as well as fever. It is very important for a parent to know what sort of mild side effects to expect and what symptoms may possibly signal a more serious adverse reaction to the vaccine, such as extremely high fever (exceeding 105 degrees). Therefore, it is essential to ask a pediatrician about the types of symptoms will warrant medical attention.

Do vaccines bring about certain conditions, like asthma and diabetes?

Many parents worry that by having their children vaccinated against certain diseases, they make them more vulnerable to other conditions. There have been issues regarding how certain vaccines are the reasons why children become hypersensitive and more prone to allergies. A number of parents are also worried about other supposedly detrimental effects of vaccines, including the development or asthma, ADHD/ADD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder), and even autism. Most medical and research institutions state that such serious adverse reactions to vaccinations are very rare; and often, speculations regarding such serious detrimental effects are unfounded. But one thing that experts are sure of is that there are certain vaccines, such as MMR and varicella, which can cause anaphylaxis. This refers to a person’s extreme hypersensitivity to a foreign element. Anaphylactic shock can cause difficulty of breathing and rashes. This is why it’s common practice for doctors to ask patients that have just been vaccinated to remain in hospital or clinic premises for 20 to 30 minutes after vaccination.

Should I have my child vaccinated?

The decision is up to you. However, consider these issues.

– The government and many established medical institutions encourage children to be vaccinated against common and potentially deadly illnesses. The CDC even offers information about recommended vaccinations. The aim of the government, as well as private healthcare institutions, is to protect public health; and one way of doing this is by ensuring that children are vaccinated and protected from diseases.

– It’s generally better to have a child vaccinated rather than allowing a child to remain unimmunized, which will endanger his health or his life in case he contracts a dangerous illness that could’ve been easily prevented by a vaccine.

– In exceptional cases of a child experiencing severe adverse reactions to a vaccine, parents or guardians can seek reparation for damages. Injury attorneys can help determine if you have a case so that you will be awarded damages.

Citations:
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Claire Wolfe is a freelance writer. She regularly blogs about medical issues that are related to personal injury cases. She also writes for respected law firms, including the Fannin Litigation Group, P.S.