Getting enough sleep, staying active, and eating nourishing meals are all part of a healthy lifestyle, but so is getting regular immunizations. Staying up to date on immunizations can help ensure you and those around stay as health as possible.
According to the World Health Organization, vaccines are now available to prevent more than 20 life-threatening illnesses. Immunizations currently prevent 3.5-5 million deaths yearly from diseases such as influenza, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and more.
By getting vaccinated for certain diseases, you help your body create protective antibodies that can help identify and fight off infections. And if your body can fight off the virus or infection, it can also help prevent the spread of the illness, preventing your loved ones from getting sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention illustrates how some are too young or too old to receive a vaccine or have an already weakened immune system and therefore are more susceptible to illness. By preventing sickness in yourself, you can prevent them from being passed on to these individuals, thus protecting them from a disease that could be more harmful to them than an otherwise healthy individual.
Due to recent global events, you might ask yourself, are vaccines safe? The short answer is yes, vaccines are safe. As the CDC explains, vaccines only use ingredients they need to be safe and effective, many of which are already found in the body, environment, or items we already utilize. There is also extensive lab testing done before a vaccine is approved. The Food and Drug Administration, CDC, National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies continue monitoring and investigating potential safety concerns after the vaccine is licensed.
You may also ask yourself, if a disease is not prevalent anymore, do I still need to receive that vaccine? According to the CDC, “the United States had more than 1,200 cases of measles in 2019. This was the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.” Stanford Medicine Children’s Health also cites that many diseases still thrive in other parts of the world, and travelers can bring them back to the U.S.
To summarize, immunizations are essential to a healthy lifestyle for you and those around you. If you have questions about immunizations or are unsure which you have received, talk to your primary care provider, who can help guide you on your health care journey.