Immunizations are a critical means of preventing infectious disease. Immunizations expose the body to a small, safe amount of a virus so that the next time your body is exposed, your immune system recognizes it and sets out to destroy it.
Bacteria, viruses, parasites and other germs (microbes) cause many human diseases. Vaccines can help protect against some of these microbes and save millions of lives.
During immunization, you are exposed to a very small and safe amount of part of a microbe. Your body's immune system responds to the vaccine by making substances called antibodies. If you are exposed to the microbe itself at a later time, the antibodies will kill the microbe and prevent infection, or you may have a milder infection.
In the U.S., many vaccines are first given during infancy. Even most premature infants can be immunized on a normal schedule. Experts recommend that all children through 18 years of age be routinely vaccinated against the following diseases:
Most vaccines are given by an injection. Some can be taken orally (by mouth) or by a nasal spray. Vaccines against the following diseases are recommended for adults:
Travel medicine at Franciscan Health fills a need in the community by providing travel immunizations at an affordable cost to individuals and companies.
More than 61 million U.S. residents are expected to travel internationally. Yet a large majority of them will not do the one thing that could mean the difference between a successful trip and a disaster: get vaccinated against diseases prevalent in the countries they’ll be visiting. Studies have shown that while individuals believed that vaccines were effective for disease prevention, few are vaccinated for their journey.
It is important to plan ahead. Some vaccinations are given in a one to three shot series over a period of time. It takes 14 to 30 days from the time of the immunization for some antibody production to take place. Certain vaccines for different diseases should be administered four weeks apart.