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The Concept of Immunization

What is immunization

Immunization is a form of preventive medicine. Its aim is to protect individuals and communities from infectious diseases. Immunization operates like an early warning system. It prepares the body to fight against infection.

How does immunization work

Immunization operates on the premise that once you have had a disease, you are unlikely to contract it again.

Through injections, oral drops or scratches on the skin, the body is exposed to weakened or dead disease-producing microorganisms or to the toxins they produce. This will cause the individual to develop the same antibodies and antitoxins that would have been developed if the person had actually contracted the disease, in order to fight the disease.

Once the body has been exposed to an infection, the immune system will "recognize" if the disease were to recur, and produce antibodies or antitoxins to destroy the infection. The body has to be exposed to infection once for the immune system to recognize it. This is done through immunization.

What are the risks of immunization

Very rarely, one hears of cases where immunization has resulted in the development of fatal complications. Most children have a mild reaction to immunization, but a few have become seriously ill. With some vaccines there is a negligible risk of serious or permanent damage or even death. As you are aware, your child can be at risk while crossing the street or even sleeping in her bed. Just as you take precautions in these routine life situations, you should take precautions before vaccinating your child. Make sure she is in good health before taking her for a shot and report any side effects to the doctor immediately. Remember that the advantages of immunization far outweigh its drawbacks. It is thanks to immunization that a disease like small pox has been eradicated.

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