Kamis, 17 Juli 2008

Immunization for Babies and Children I

An Overview about Benefits and Side Effects

For the parents who already have a baby, immunization was widely recognized; but not all the parents well informed about what is immunization and what are the benefits from it. When the parents meet their pediatrician or when they are talking each other, so many questions were asked. Is the immunization will fully protects my children from specific disease? Is the immunization has to be done in the recommended schedule? What would they do if they missed the schedule? What are the side effects of immunization? What about articles in the newspaper that reported some severe side effects of immunization, including death, after a child immunized?

Of course there are a lot of more questions that need satisfied answers. Instead of discussing the immunization in details, this article will try to give a basic understanding about how immunization is needed and how we response to various information about the side-effects of immunization.

Immunization will reduce the risk of a disease

Every person, both children and adults, are always on a risk for developing specific disease in their lifetime. The level of risk was vary between one person to another, and for infectious diseases this risk influenced by microorganisms as a cause of infections (bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites), human body as a host (immunity, nutrition), and environmental factors. Here we see that there are many factors play role for developing an infectious disease and the immunization is one of these that reduce the risk by modifying the immune system. Other measurements that also reduce the risk of infection should do in parallel with immunization, such as nutritional supports and self and environmental hygiene.

The benefits of immunization are for individual and public health

Except for individual protection reason, the immunization program usually has been associated with wider public health. This reason was based on facts that protection for a specific infectious disease only will reached if not less than 80% of risky population have been immunized. It makes the government as well as professional physician college always campaign for the immunization program in order to reach as much as people at risk to received the immunization.

If the protection for wide population cannot be reached because of who were immunized less then targeted, the disease is still there and even who are immunized still at risk for having the disease. So, by taking your children to received immunization, you are not only giving your children protection from a specific disease but you are also contributing for wider public health matter.

Is it true that immunization is not a safe procedure and can give a fatal reaction?

As a medical procedure that giving something to the body, by injection or oral, it cannot be denied that immunization (both by the vaccines and the procedure itself) have possibility for having side effects or adverse reactions. But evidence from millions immunization procedures that performed wide world, shows that the reported side effects or adverse reactions were very unusual and insignificant. Most reported side effects are local pain and sore at the site of injection (is it an understandable thing?) that will resolves in a few days. Sometimes low grade fever will appeared that easily relieve by simple antipyretic drug.

In a very rare case, it has been reported a serious reaction like severe allergic reaction, high fever, and some news reported that a child was have paralysis and other death after they were immunized. This kind of news usually will be blown up, and it makes some parents so worried about immunization procedure, and in some cases will make the physician doubt to give a child the immunization that reported. In this situation, it is wise for us to be rationale and consider these points below:

1. In facts, the reported severe side effects or adverse reactions due to immunization procedure were quantitatively low. Scientifically, it is hard to conclude that there was cause-effect relationship between these reactions and immunization.
2. Considering that immunization has so many benefits for individual and public health reasons, as we discussed before, these low amounts of side effects or adverse reactions were not comparable.
3. There are so many information that you can get in the internet about immunization. They will give you satisfied answers that you need, based on current knowledge from the experts around the world.
4. Consult and discuss your problems about immunization with the pediatrician, and you have rights to get the second opinion from other physician. The decision to give or not to give immunization to your child should be based on complete information you’ve got.

Having a healthy child that free from various diseases is every parent’s dream. So many things that we can do that should be based on good knowledge and rationale thinking, including giving them good nutrition, caring for self and environmental hygiene, as well as getting immunization for the children. Immunization was a proven procedure in order to enhance immune systems against many diseases and also have public health benefits. Scientific evidences show that side-effects and adverse reactions due to immunization are rare, usually mild, and harmless.

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