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Immunizations save lives. They are the best way to help protect you or your child from getting certain diseases that can be spread to other people (infectious diseases). And there are often no medical treatments for these diseases.
They also help reduce the spread of disease to others to prevent sudden outbreaks of the disease, called epidemics. Preventing the spread of disease is very important for people with weak immune systems. These people may not be able to get vaccines, or vaccines don't work well for them. Their only protection is for others to get vaccinated so illnesses are less common.
Other reasons why vaccines are important:
It's impossible to protect your child from all contagious illnesses. But you can teach healthy habits to help reduce your child's risk of infections. Teach your child:
Children younger than age 2 need a caregiver's help to prevent the spread of germs. Wash your child's hands often, and disinfect shared toys. If your child attends day care, closely review the policies about sick children and hygiene issues.
If your child becomes ill, keep your child out of day care and away from other children until the contagious period has passed. If you are unsure about how long this should be, contact your doctor.
Keep your child away from secondhand smoke. Smoke irritates the mucous membranes in your child's nose, sinuses, and lungs, making infections more likely.
When in a public area, such as an airport or restaurant, be aware of the risk of exposure to germs that can make you and your child ill. Use these tips to help protect your child.
Avoid people with an obvious illness (such as a person who is coughing or sneezing). Don't be afraid to tell others, especially those you don't know, not to touch your child.
Do not let your child eat or touch their mouth, eyes, or nose until your child's hands are thoroughly washed with soap and water.
These practices include regular sanitation of facilities and toys, sanitary food preparation, proper bathroom procedures and cleaning, and procedures for when children become ill.
For example, your doctor may recommend keeping your newborn or child with health problems away from large crowds during outbreaks of disease. If you have to be in a public place, have children over age 2 wear a mask.
Current as of:
February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: John Pope MD - PediatricsAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: February 9, 2022
John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
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