As the new school year approaches, pediatricians are reminding parents of the crucial role immunizations play in keeping kids healthy.
“Immunizations can help your body develop resistance to specific diseases and increase your immunity to them,” said Karina Maher, MD, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Monica Medical Offices. “It’s very important for the whole family to be up to date on vaccines to protect themselves, their children and the community.”
August is also National Immunization Awareness Month, and Dr. Maher says following the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their child’s health.
Disease can quickly spread among groups of children who are unvaccinated, and the child’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles and polio.
In fact, the flu causes more deaths each year than any other vaccine-preventable disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some parents are concerned about the impact of vaccines, and are fearful that certain vaccines may play a role in children developing autism.
“There have been a lot of false claims in the news, but thorough studies have found no link between vaccines and autism,” Dr. Maher said. “Immunizations are very safe, even if your child has, or is, recovering from a minor illness such as a cold or ear infection, or even if they have a slight fever.”
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