Know about vaccinations and how they work

Below is a useful piece of information from the web on immunity and vaccines, which all concerned parents would be interested to know.

How Immunity Works
You get sick when your body is invaded by germs. When measles virus enters your body it gives you measles. Whooping cough bacteria cause whooping cough. And so on.

It is the job of your immune system to protect you from these germs. Here's how it works:

Germs enter your body and start to reproduce. Your immune system recognizes these germs as invaders from outside your body and responds by making proteins called antibodies. Antibodies have two jobs. The first is to help destroy the germs that are making you sick. Because the germs have a head start, you will already be sick by the time your immune system has produced enough antibodies to destroy them. But by eliminating the attacking germs, antibodies help you to get well.

Now the antibodies start doing their second job. They remain in your bloodstream, guarding you against future infections. If the same germs ever try to infect you again - even after many years - these antibodies will come to your defense. Only now they can destroy the germs before they have a chance to make you sick. This process is called immunity. It is why most people get diseases like measles or chickenpox only once, even though they might be exposed many times during their lifetime. This is a very effective system for preventing disease. The only problem is you have to get sick before you develop immunity.

How Vaccines Help
The idea behind vaccination is to give you immunity to a disease before it has a chance to make you sick.

Vaccines are made from the same germs (or parts of them) that cause disease - measles vaccine is made from measles virus, for instance, and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine is made from parts of the Hib bacteria. But the germs in vaccines are either killed or weakened so they won't make you sick.

Then the vaccines containing these weakened or killed germs are introduced into your body, usually by injection. Your immune system reacts to the vaccine the same as it would if it were being invaded by the disease - by making antibodies. The antibodies destroy the vaccine germs just as they would the disease germs. Then they stay in your body, giving you immunity. If you are ever exposed to the real disease, the antibodies will be there to protect you.

Immunizations help your child's immune system do its work. The child develops protection against future infections, the same as if he or she had been exposed to the natural disease. The good news is, with vaccines your child doesn't have to get sick first to get that protection.

It is common for your child to have fever after the immunisation. So don't worry too much. Click here for the side effects of various childhood vaccinations.



WaveSurfer on September 2, 2008 at 8:47 AM said...

Nice information.

However, adding in the 5-in-1 and 6-in-1 packages and timings would be useful too. ^^


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