The Parents’ Guide to Infant Immunization
Once your baby is born, you will probably be willing to go to great lengths to ensure that he or she has excellent medical care for a good start in life. However, one of the most important steps you can take for your baby’s health is also one of the simplest: following an immunization schedule. Immunizations are not only important for admission to public schools and daycares, but they also help to protect children from life-threatening medical conditions. Here are some facts about infant immunizations that all parents should know.
Every child should be vaccinated according to an immunization schedule
During one of your first visits to the pediatrician, you will be presented with an immunization schedule for your newborn, showing recommended vaccinations from birth to age 18. These vaccinations protect your child from a wide range of diseases, including polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and the measles. Your child’s pediatrician can discuss each vaccination in more detail with you and help you schedule appointments for your child to receive them.
Side effects from vaccines are generally mild and temporary
Recently, news has circulated that vaccines are linked to the onset of autism, but there is no scientific research to support this claim. In fact, most vaccines only cause mild discomfort, which is generally isolated to the area of the shot. While it may be difficult to see your infant in any sort of pain which may result from immunizations, this will be far less traumatic than seeing your child suffer from the diseases that vaccines protect against.
Natural immunity is not a substitute for vaccines
When babies are born, they have temporary immunity from conditions to which their mothers are immune. However, once this natural immunity diminishes, your baby will be highly vulnerable to disease and infection without the protection of immunizations. Natural immunity can also occur after exposure to certain diseases such as chickenpox, but this type of immunity is risky because your child will need to fight off the infection before developing antibodies to fight it.
If you want to find additional information about infant immunizations and pediatric care, contact Good Samaritan Hospital during National Infant Immunization Week this April. You can reach us on our website or by calling our Contact-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 559-2011.