Immunizations

When babies are born, they are frail and can easily get sick because they haven’t had previous contact with different microorganisms, and thus lack the antibodies necessary to protect them from these harmful pathogens.

Breastfed babies will indeed receive antibodies from their mothers through breast milk, but after that initial breastfeeding period, the babies will have to produce their own antibodies.

Producing antibodies, or becoming immune to a certain pathogen, can be achieved either naturally (by getting sick) or artificially through a very important process called immunization.

The team at Pediatrics of Sugarland is ready to help you with anything related to your child’s immunizations. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Why is immunization the key to a healthy life?

What is immunization?

Immunization refers to the process by which a person becomes immune or protected against a disease through vaccination. Immunizations are preparations that when introduced into the body, will generate an immune response against a specific pathogen.

Through immunization, a person will produce antibodies against specific pathogens, thus becoming immune and protected against these specific microbes.

Is there a specific immunization schedule?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend a certain immunization schedule. Some vaccines require a single dose, while others require multiple doses at specific ages. Some are taken orally (by mouth), while others are injected. Some immunizations are recommended for all children from birth to 18 years old, while others are indicated in specific circumstances. In general, the following immunizations are recommended:
 
• Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (DTaP)
• Poliovirus (IPV)
• Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
• Pneumococcus (PCV)
• Varicella (Chickenpox)
• Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
• Rotavirus
• Hepatitis B (Hep B)
• Hepatitis A (Hep A)
• Human papillomavirus (HPV)
• Meningococcus.
• Influenza (annual shot)
 
It’s important to consult with your pediatrician to agree on an immunization schedule to follow, based not only on the guidelines issued by the CDC and AAP but also on your child’s unique health concerns, environment, and needs.

Can my child receive several immunizations at the same time?

Yes! Not only is it possible, it’s actually recommended. This way the child experiences less discomfort and the parents don’t have to visit the pediatrician’s office as often, thus saving time and money.

Many immunizations are received in association with others, such as the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) or diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine (DtaP).

Are there any contraindications to receiving immunizations?

Based on the child’s medical history and physical examination, the pediatrician may advise against certain immunizations if they are not safe for the child or if he or she presents contraindications to receiving them. This is a rare occurrence, but immunization contraindications include:
– Severe allergy to the immunization or an ingredient it contains.
– States of genetic immunodeficiency.
– States of acquired immunodeficiency (HIV infection, chronic steroid use…).
Other times, the pediatrician may advise against or postpone an immunization if they judge that it’s not safe at the moment for the child to be immunized. This could happen if the child is suffering from a severe infection if they’re underweight or for other medical reasons.

Are there any complications or side effects?

Immunizations are a safe public health intervention with relatively few complications. The most feared complication is an allergic reaction. Hence the importance of receiving immunizations in a well-equipped room under the care of an experienced physician and team who will be ready to spring into action should anything bad happen.

Although an allergic reaction to immunization is dreaded by medical professionals, it remains a rather rare event. Other complaints and side effects are more common, but they are thankfully minor and aren’t a cause for worry. They include:
– Mild pain or swelling at the site of the injection.
– Fever.
– Irritability and discomfort.

What should parents know about immunizations?

Sadly, many parents remain reluctant to fully vaccinate their children. However, it’s imperative to note that immunization is a cheap, safe, and effective method to produce antibodies and thus protect babies and even older children from dangerous infections.

Parents need to also be aware of how to manage a fever if their baby suffers from one. Having a high temperature after receiving an immunization is common, but nevertheless, the fever will need to be taken care of with the help of physical treatment measures (such as a cold shower or ice packs) or medication to prevent any long-term neurological complications.

Last but not least, the parents must maintain close contact with the pediatrician, so that they can establish the right immunization schedule catered to the child’s unique needs, and so that they keep a close eye on the baby, making sure that everything goes smoothly and there aren’t any serious complications, side effects or health concerns.

Pediatrics of Sugar Land

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