Immunizations for Children and Adults
The most important type of healthcare is preventative. Preventing a disease is always much simpler and less painful than treating a sick patient. One of the most effective preventative treatments modern medicine can offer is immunization. Every child and adult should have regular immunizations to prevent the contraction and spread of serious, contagious diseases and illnesses.
How Does Immunization Work?
When the body is exposed to an antigen (a foreign molecule like a virus), the immune system immediately responds, developing antibodies to combat the virus. If the individual is exposed to the same virus at a later date, the immune system will respond more quickly – thanks to the body’s B cells and T cells, which act as the immune system’s memory.
The process of immunization enhances the body’s immune system by exposing it to small quantities of virus. As a result, the vaccinated individual never actually becomes sickened from the virus contained in the vaccine, but the body’s immune system develops antigens to combat it and stores the knowledge away for later encounters with the same virus.
Who Should Receive Immunizations?
Infants, children and adults are all candidates for immunizations. Childhood immunizations are administered based on a recommended schedule, while most adult vaccines are elective.
Children begin childhood immunizations at birth and are then set on a schedule of vaccinations developed to safeguard them from contracting highly contagious and serious diseases. The schedule of childhood vaccines is based on the latest scientific research and is recommended and evaluated each year by experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Childhood immunizations include:
- DTAP/TDAP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Whooping Cough))
- Hep A (Hepatitis A)
- Hep B (Hepatitis B)
- HIB (Haemophilus Influenza Type B)
- HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
- IPV (Polio)
- MCV4 (Meningococcal Conjugate)
- MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)
- PCV (Pnemococcal Conjugate)
- RV (Rotavirus)
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
Your child’s pediatrician will discuss immunization during your child’s well baby or well child appointments.
Adults typically receive a vaccination for tetanus every ten years. We also recommend adults receive an annual flu shot. If planning to travel outside of the country, you should also ask your doctor about vaccinations recommended before arriving in the places you will be visiting. Some international travel immunizations include yellow fever, typhoid fever and polio.
Schedule a Preventative Care Appointment Today
If you or your child is due for an immunization, schedule a preventative care appointment with Gulf Coast Health Center today. With five convenient locations, we look forward to helping you protect your children, yourself and your community from the spread of dangerous, life-altering communicable diseases.