There has never been a time when more information is available to new parents. But with so much information—including a fair bit of incorrect information—available today, learning the facts before making health decisions is very important.
One of the first decisions new parents face has to do with immunizations for their baby.
“The diseases vaccines prevent can be dangerous or even deadly,” says Sandra Granger, MD, of UnityPoint Clinic Pediatrics – Sunnybrook. “While statistically, the chances of your child getting diseases such as measles, pertussis or another vaccine-preventable disease might be low, you don’t want to take a chance with your child’s health.”
Dr. Granger says young children have a number of unique behaviors and biological factors that make timely immunizations vital. She says parents should consider:
Children are exposed to thousands of germs every day in their environment. This happens through the food they eat, the air they breathe, and things they put in their mouth.
Babies are born with immune systems that are developing the ability to fight the germs they are exposed to, but they will still get illnesses from a variety of causes. Vaccines are developed to help babies’ immune systems fight off the germs that cause the most serious or common diseases.
Vaccines use very small amounts of antigens—parts of germs that cause the body’s immune system to go to work—to help children’s immune systems recognize and learn to fight serious diseases. The number is very small in comparison to the number that they will naturally come into contact with during daily activities.
“Immunizations, especially in young children, are vital to protecting your child from serious illnesses,” Dr. Granger says. “The immune system is not fully developed at birth, so beginning a vaccination regimen on time can help reduce the risk of infection. Vaccines help to build your baby’s natural defenses while safely developing immunity to disease.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a wealth of resources to help parents make informed decisions about immunizing their children—from detailed immunization schedules for children, adolescents and teens to detailed information on vaccine safety, potential side effects and more.
CDC’s vaccines and immunization content are researched, written and approved by subject matter experts, including physicians, researchers, epidemiologists, and analysts. The content is also based on peer-reviewed science. CDC leadership makes the final decision on the words, images and links to best serve the information needs of the public as well as healthcare providers, public health professionals, partners, educators, and researchers. This science and public health data are frequently updated, and recommendations change as new studies and data become available.
“There is so much information out there right now that it can be overwhelming for new parents,” Dr. Granger says. “Using sources like the CDC to learn more is great, but the most important thing parents can do is establish a relationship with a provider they trust. We are prepared to listen to concerns, answer questions and provide credible resources for additional information if needed. We strongly believe that immunizations are a key component of your child’s health and well-being.”
To establish care with a UnityPoint Clinic Pediatrics – Sunnybrook provider, call (712) 266-2700. For detailed information on immunization schedules for children, click here.