Vaccine Myths and Facts
Recently the media has been putting children's vaccinations under a microscope. Many claim that vaccines are no longer necessary, and others claim that they do more harm than good by causing serious conditions, such as autism. What is the truth about vaccines? Is it possible to know for certain that vaccines are safe for your child?
What is the truth about vaccines? There has been much news in the media of late putting children's vaccinations at the center of much controversy. Some even claim vaccines do more harm than good. While you may not be able to find all the answers to your questions about the safety of vaccines, it is important to understand there are some common myths about vaccines which can be cleared up to help you make a better decision for you and your family.
Myth 1 - These Diseases Are Gone So We Don't Need Vaccines
Many parents who have chosen not to vaccinate their children do so under the belief that the diseases that the vaccines protect against are no longer a threat. Since we typically no longer see the effects of devastating diseases such as polio it seems like these diseases no longer exist. These diseases do still exist. It takes only one exposure to these germs in other countries to pose a threat to local children. As the numbers of people who choose not to vaccinate their children rises, so will the threat that these diseases will return. Recent mumps outbreaks in young adults are an indication that these diseases are still around.
Myth 2 - The Side Effects Are Too Dangerous
Can vaccines cause side effects? Yes, they can. Some children can be allergic to something in the vaccine, and others will have a neurological response to the vaccine and perhaps experience a seizure. So there is a risk when you give your child a vaccine, but these types of reactions are very rare. Most children experience nothing more than a low-grade fever after receiving a vaccine.
The most controversial potential side effect of immunizations is autism. Some parents claim that their children developed autism after receiving a vaccine. There have not yet been any definitive scientific studies which indicate that vaccines are the root cause of autism for most children, even though the symptoms seem too appear in a similar time as the vaccines. Children who have never been vaccinated can still develop autism, which indicates there is another underlying cause. Severe neurological reactions to vaccines are very rare, and most autism cases cannot be definitively be linked to vaccines. The risk of a child getting one of the diseases the vaccines protect against is far higher than the risk of the child developing autism as a result of the vaccine.
Myth 3 - Breastfeeding Means My Child Doesn't Need Vaccines
There is no doubt that breastfeeding provides your baby with important immunities. However, there are some antibodies that are not passed on through breast milk, including serious conditions like polio and diphtheria. Also, the antibodies do not last once your baby is weaned, but the immunity that a vaccine provides is lifelong.
In reality, all vaccines do carry some risks. It is impossible to know for sure you baby will not have a reaction to any vaccine in much the same manner you do not know if your child will have a reaction to the foods you introduce to her. The danger of the diseases that vaccines protect against is very high, however, so you as a parent must weigh that danger against the risk of the vaccine and make a decision for yourself.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Cummings is a devoted family member and a regular author on parenting and family topics. He is devoted to helping other parents create quality time with their families and to assist children-oriented organizations put a smile on every child's face. David also manages BustlingBaby.com - a favorite website that keeps families moving through its large selection of products that make family travel easier and more enjoyable, such as convertible car seats