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Infant Immunization Awareness

Coming home with your baby is one of the most exciting moments for parents. You're now flying solo, in charge of every diaper, learning to feed and what cries mean what need. It's a time where you truly learn who this new person is, and with all of the items sent home from the hospital with new parents one of the most crucial bits of information included is the immunization schedule.

No one likes to think of potentially causing something as precious as a newborn or infant pain due to a shot. But, the ramifications from not receiving proper immunizations can be far more concern worthy. In the last one hundred years our country has seen the decline of measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, diphtheria, and polio. And this is thanks to the immunization and vaccination schedules that babies and infants receive in their younger years.

"They (vaccines) expose the immune system to inactivated pieces of the bacteria/virus. Then the immune system is primed to respond if that disease is encountered," stated Dr. Patrick Yost, family practitioner with Memorial Hospital of Converse County. "By immunizing a large percentage of the population, we have decreased the number of people that carry the diseases. That makes it less likely people can be exposed or be infected."

Think of your baby's body as coming into the world having an untrained army (his or her immune system), and that army has to now be exposed to the elements in order to become strong (build up antibodies and resistance). The vaccine is like special operations training for your child's immune system for specific infections and diseases (the antigen inside of the vaccine) and as they work to combat this non-harmful version of the disease they build up the strength to combat it naturally in the world around them.

The development of these vaccines takes considerable time and effort, and they are constantly refined. "Doctors/Scientists find how to use antigens of the offending diseases to activate our immune system after years of research." When asked about the heightened concerns in recent years that parents can experience Yosted added, "Parents have multiple concerns, but vaccines are very safe. Discuss them with your Provider and you will not be as anxious."

The slate of vaccinations developed are decided upon by a larger body, then recommended to the wider health community to help prevent common diseases. What are some of the more common ailments that immunizations seek to protect our children against? "Tetanus is a common one that we could be exposed to in Wyoming due to cuts and scrapes. Pertussis has been increasing recently. It causes 'whooping cough'."

Parents may have concerns on what immunizations their child needs to receive and when. As well the prescribed schedule for your child may give you pause or raise concerns. At our Medical Office Building, parents will find "A supportive and friendly environment." noted Yost.

Some parents do give Tylenol or Ibuprofen prior to their child's appointment to help take some of the sting out of the vaccination, but also some worry about the concentrated schedule of the recommended immunizations. Should a parent want to discuss the possibility of looking at a different schedule the best course is to realize, "There are different vaccination schedules available to discuss with your Provider." concluded Yost.

If you need to make that scheduled appointment for your child to get caught up or simply find out where your child is on their immunization schedule be sure to reach out to our Medical Office Building at 307.358.7300 or your local Health Department.