Wellness Series: Immunization Awareness Month

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With summer still here and back-to-school just around the corner, it is a great time to think of those immunizations that will keep you and your loved ones healthy this year and beyond. For many people, just the thought of a needle makes them squeamish, but despite the unpleasant process, it’s thanks to immunizations that some of the world’s most deadly diseases have been eradicated. When it comes to immunizations, there is a lot of incorrect information out on the web, so this week we turn to our Medical Expert Network to bring us the truth on immunizations as we celebrate Immunization Awareness Month.

Are there risks to immunizations?
The biggest risk is in not getting immunized. There are no frivolous vaccines. Unless you have some unique situation the benefit will always be orders of magnitude greater than the risk. Minor soreness and fatigue for a day or so are a small price to pay for preventing the morbidity and mortality of MMR, Hep B, etc. Autism and vaccines has been thoroughly debunked.

-Dr. Dan Fisher

What are immunizations?
Immunizations are one of modern medicine’s greatest discoveries. They work by tricking the body’s immune system to think it has been exposed to an illness in order to produce “antibodies” that help to prevent that individual from ever getting sick from that same disease. They are designed to prevent life-threatening diseases. Some vaccines (Hepatitis B, HPV) are even designed to prevent cancer.

-Dr. Lisa Roberts

Why are immunizations important in children?
Immunizations may be the single, safest, most effective health intervention produced in the last 100 years. They are proven to be 99% effective, safe and have saved literally millions of children’s lives.There is literally no valid scientific research proving that serious complications of the vaccines outweigh the risks.

-Dr. Mark Diamond

Should I give my child Tylenol before he or she gets immunizations?
No, a recent study demonstrated that administration of acetaminophen prior to the immunization MAY diminish the immune response. Thus currently only as needed afterwards. Remember that side effects of soreness, fever or fussiness are still rare.

-Dr. Mark Diamond

Does a link exist between immunizations and autism?
Several studies have disproved the link, which was originally published in 1998 by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. An investigation by the British medical journal (BMJ) concluded that Dr.Wakefield faked data and created an elaborate fraud, causing long-lasting damage to public health. In fact, the original study was eventually retracted in 2010, and Dr. Wakefield lost his license.

-Dr. John Leander Po

Whatever your thoughts on getting shots, the quick pricks certainly beat getting the diseases they prevent. With HealthTap’s Medical Expert Network ready to support you, you can rest assured because should you have more questions about immunizations or any other health topic, it’s easy to ask over 14,000 leading doctors and get an answer fast on HealthTap. You can even follow the topic of Immunization to see new answers every time a doctor answers a related question. And this August, simply take a moment to make sure that you and your loved ones are vaccinated and fully prepared for all the fun the fall is sure to bring!