Hailed as the eradicator of deadly and crippling diseases, and acclaimed as a preventative to many infectious ailments, vaccines are widely recognized as one of the miracles of modern medicine.
Diseases like polio, smallpox, diphtheria, typhoid, measles, scarlet fever, pertussis, and many more, have all been eradicated or reduced drastically due to the introduction and use of vaccines.
Vaccines protect you from all sorts of diseases and infections, and can save your life: influenza can be kept at bay by an annual flu shot; whooping cough can endanger your infant, but that risk can be reduced by an appropriate vaccine for pregnant mothers and their family members; if you're traveling abroad, you may need a variety of different vaccines to protect against diseases such as yellow fever.
Adults, of course, are no more immune to sickness than children, and need specific vaccinations; the risk for shingles only increases as you age, and the shingles shot is recommended for people 60 and over. Adults should also receive vaccines for HPV and Hepatitis B.
Vaccines sometimes must be renewed; whooping cough and tetanus, for example, may require booster shots to ensure you remain shielded your whole life.
If you were not vaccinated as a child, you should remember that it's never too late to start! Diseases such as measles and mumps might still threaten you. You may be required to have certain shots, if you are traveling, if you work in the health care profession, or if you are going back to college.
If you smoke, have asthma, diabetes, or other chronic diseases, you are at increased risk of pneumonia and meningitis, among other serious diseases; the pneumococcal vaccine, however, can fight these and protect you.
So what would happen if we stopped vaccinating here? Diseases that are almost unknown would stage a comeback. Before long we would see epidemics of diseases that are nearly under control today. More people would get sick and more would die.
The doctors here at New Milford Medicine Group believe in the power of vaccinations, and recommend them for everyone who doesn't have a medical reason not to get the shot.
In the words of Dr. Jon Beck; “I strongly believe that vaccinations are very important for good health, and disease prevention.”