Vaccinations are extremely effective at controlling outbreaks of potentially deadly viruses. For decades, vaccines have been used to control diseases like mumps, measles, polio, diphtheria, and many other illnesses that can have devastating effects on individuals and the population at large. A vaccine is created using a small amount of the virus, either alive or dead, and creating a matrix that is injected into the body so antibodies can be created. The body identifies the virus and begins to create antibodies that help fight off the disease if a patient comes in contact with the offending virus. Booster shots are sometimes needed over the years to help the body maintain the number of antibodies needed to continue to fight off the virus.
While most vaccinations are associated with those given during childhood, there are several vaccinations that can be given to adults as well. The HPV vaccine, annual flu shots, Zostavax for shingles, Prevnar 13 for pneumonia, and Tdap are common vaccines that are given to adults on a regular basis. Individuals who received vaccines as children should occasionally check with their physician to determine whether a booster shot is needed to increase their degree of protection. In some cases, the virus may change or mutate over the years requiring a new vaccination. Annual flu shots fall into this particular category due to the ever changing nature of flu viruses.
Vaccinations can cause side effects, although the majority of individuals who receive them don’t report severe reactions. The most common side effects are visible reactions at the injection site. Individuals who receive the flu shot on a yearly basis often report flu-like symptoms for the first few days after receiving the vaccination. Because the side effects often mimic the actual symptoms of the condition being controlled, Dr. Rashid may prescribe medications to help alleviate the patient's discomfort. In most situations, the symptoms associated with vaccinations only last for a few days and will subside without any type of treatment.
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