A healthy body is your best defense against sickness. Our body is naturally equipped with antibodies that can fight off infections on its own. However, with the numerous stressors we face each day and the fact that even bacteria themselves evolve to become resistant to antibiotics.
Hence, getting yourself vaccinated is the best recourse to protecting yourself from illness and ensure you are always in great shape to do what you need to do each day. Infants and young children are required to get certain vaccinations and as we grew up, we think less and less of it unless we are asked to do so, like annual flu shots perhaps. Now, the question is, do we really need to get vaccinated or can we just rely on our natural antibodies to get us through our lifetime?
There are a number of reasons why adults need vaccines.
Vaccines wear off with time
Some vaccines given during childhood wear off with time. As a result, a booster shot(s) is needed during adulthood.
The dosing and timing varies, but an example is diphtheria and tetanus vaccines that require a booster every 10 years, even for adults.
Some infections are especially dangerous for older adults
Some diseases are especially dangerous and more common in adults, particularly those with weakened immune systems and the elderly. Vaccines do exist that prevent infections like influenza, shingles, and pneumococcal disease in this population.
Under certain situations or circumstances, such as travel or working in a high risk occupation, some vaccines need to be administered to protect adults form infections. These include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Yellow fever and Rabies.
Indirect protection of young children and others
Although there are effective vaccines that protect against common childhood infections, some vaccines are not able to be given to young infants especially those under 12 months of age.
Still other vaccines need several doses in order to offer full protection.
So, if these young children are exposed to an infection, they are at risk for getting it as they are not fully protected.
While many are clueless as to the value of immunization, it helps to learn about these things like immunization schedule according to your age and what immunizations require follow-up shots or boosters. Another mistake many are guilty of doing that is probably the reason why many diseases are hard to cure these days is too much antibiotic use.
“More and more commonly, we are seeing children who are admitted to the hospital, who have infections with more resistant bacteria than we have been in the past,” says Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse.
Rajapakse adds, “One of the biggest reasons for this is the amount of antibiotics children are getting now. We know that up to half of antibiotics that are prescribed are either completely unnecessary or inappropriate. By inappropriate, I mean either the dose of the antibiotic is incorrect or the duration or length of time that the antibiotic is prescribed for is incorrect, and that is one of the biggest drivers of resistance.”
She says that the overuse of antibiotics is the single biggest driver in antibiotic resistance.
What can parents do?
Encouraging good hand hygiene, staying up-to-date on vaccinations and good communication with your child’s health care provider are all ways parents can have an active role in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
“The best way to avoid recurrently being exposed to antibiotics is to prevent yourself or your child from getting infections in the first place,” says Rajapakse.
And cliché as it may seem, prevention is still better than cure. Why let yourself go under undue stress, pain, and discomfort when just a shot of a vaccine can protect you from most illnesses that plague everyone around you.
A 2014 study suggested the flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit admission by 74 percent during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 flu seasons, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people overall. The elderly, young and immunosuppressed are especially at risk of suffering flu complications. It is unclear whether Piper had any underlying health conditions that would have increased her chance of serious illness.
We all have a responsibility to take good care of our health and that of the people we love. And getting immunized is one of the best and easy ways to do that. In just one shot, you no longer have to worry about getting the constant flu that plagues most people you know. If you get sick all the time or is either a child or the elderly, this is also the solution you are looking for. There’s no question now whether you need a vaccine or not, the question is which one you need now.