Immunizations help protect you and your children from serious diseases and their long-term side effects. While a fully functional immune system is capable of fighting off a variety of illnesses and viruses, there are some diseases with serious and lasting repercussions, ranging from infertility and paralysis, to even premature death. Vaccines have been developed to prevent people from contracting these diseases, saving and protecting the lives of millions. For example, the effective implementation of immunizations has removed several dangerous diseases, such as polio, from the United States. Immunizations are usually required for admission to most schools before students participate in most sports and extracurricular activities. Vaccines undergo rigorous testing and safety clearances. No scientific evidence exists that vaccinations cause any developmental issues.
An immunization exposes a patient to a small and controlled dose of a virus that stimulates the body into producing the necessary antibodies to fight the virus. The body then holds on to these antibodies to defend itself against the virus if exposed to it again later in life. Most vaccines last for many years or even a lifetime, although some may require boosters to maintain full protection. The flu vaccine is slightly different because the flu virus mutates quickly, and each year the virus has changed enough to require a new vaccine. As a result, an annual flu shot is recommended, especially for the very young, the elderly, and those who work with children or sick people.
The general recommendation is for everyone to have a flu vaccine each year; however, some demographic groups are more likely than others to catch a flu virus. Children under the age of 6, the elderly, pregnant women, travelers, and those with existing health problems are all statistically more likely to contract the flu virus and should have an annual flu vaccine shot. If you have questions about whether you and your family need a flu shot, or any other vaccine, the doctors at Gilroy Family Medical Group will be happy to answer your questions.
Gilroy Family Medical Group works with most major insurances. If you have any questions, please call our office and one of our knowledgeable staff members would be happy to help.
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