Immunizations and You
The immune system is comprised of various cells, organs, glands and fluids in the body that are designed to fight off germs through the production of special proteins known as antibodies. Immunity is simply the body’s protection system against diseases.
When your children are first infected with a specific germ, also referred to as antigens or “foreign invaders”, their immune system produces special antibodies designed to fight that specific germ. However, it takes time for the body to create the right type of antibody, meaning the child still contracts the disease and becomes ill.
Once the antibody has been created, the body remembers it. It is almost as if it stores the blueprint for the antibody and has the ability to call upon that blueprint any time it recognizes the same antigen. Thus, if the antigen in question infects the body again, even if it occurs many years later, the body is able to produce the proper antibody, effectively halting the antigen from causing the manifestation of the disease.
Vaccines offer a way of ensuring your children gain the immunity they need without ever having to become ill. Vaccines contain the very same antigens as the disease but have been weakened or are dead so they are unable to create the disease itself. These antigens are still sufficiently powerful and cause the body to create the antibodies required to fight off the antigen. In essence, these vaccines are more effective and productive to ensure your children develop the necessary antibodies instead of becoming sick with a disease.
Considering the fact that immunization involves introducing antigens into the body, no matter how weak they are, it is not a good idea to “overload” your child’s immune system. This is why there is a standard schedule for special immunization for children, helping to introduce the elements over a period of time as their bodies grow stronger and fight off the disease.