why you should vaccinate children

I'll Be Vaccinating My Future Children, Here's Why You Should, Too

They'll have a sore arm for a few days, but at least they won't get polio.

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Come flu season, there are several precautions that I begin taking to avoid getting sick. I was my hands as often as possible, especially when I'm at school or work where I come into contact with a lot of germs. Whenever I feel like I've run into someone who is sick, I pop a few vitamin C tablets for the following few days to help out my body. On top of that, I make sure to eat healthily and stay hydrated so I don't get worn down.

Oh, and I get a flu shot.

Why? Because vaccinations are an important part of protecting ourselves against many preventable diseases. Seasonal vaccinations like the flu shot help to prevent more of our population from suffering from hospitalizations and flu-related complications.

Vaccines are one of the most incredible medical breakthroughs we have. When you receive a vaccination, you are teaching your immune system how to fight a possible infection by training your immune cells to recognize antigens. For example, one kind of flu vaccine contains viruses that have been killed and are not infectious. Your immune system cannot tell that they are inactive, and will still treat the "invading virus" like it would a live one. Your B and T cells create a small and powerful army to engulf the inactive virus and learn from the experience. That way, if any live flu viruses enter your system, your immune system will be ready to go on offense right away.

Influenza can be scary, but we also have a dozen other preventable diseases that can be stopped by vaccinations. The prevalence of polio, measles, whooping cough and more can be lowered when we vaccinate our children at a young age.

Even if you've never heard of a case of measles occurring in your town, all it takes is one person traveling through the area to spread infection. While it is rare in our country, measles is common around the world and unvaccinated travelers can bring the disease back home with them. In the first six months of 2018 alone, a reported 107 people in 21 states were infected with measles and almost all of them were unvaccinated.

Do you care about your community? Do you want to see your friends and family stay healthy? Then having your children vaccinated can help out with that. There are certain people who unfortunately can't receive vaccines such as newborn babies and those with diseases that compromise their immune systems. They rely on the rest of their community to stay vaccinated to avoid preventable diseases from being around them. In order to protect us all, we just need to ensure the new generation gets their vaccinations.

Medical professionals are aware of the concerns parents have for their children. They know how scary it can be to put something into your child's body that you might not fully understand. They may not share the love you have for your child, but they are fully invested in seeing your child grow up healthy and strong. Before vaccines are approved for use, they undergo rigorous testing. Nothing but the absolute best passes through these checkpoints. You can rest assured knowing that each vaccination your child needs is safe and well-regulated.

One day, when I have children, I'll make sure they're as safe as I can make them. Electrical outlets within their reach will be covered, their car seats will be up to standard, and they'll wear helmets when they learn to ride a bike. In order for me to be sure my children will reach the age where they can ride a bike though, I'll be making sure they receive all the vaccinations the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends.

If I can prevent my kids from accidental electrocution and bumps on the head when they ride a bike, I can prevent serious childhood diseases. They'll still skin their knees and get in all kinds of trouble, but at least they won't get polio.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Blocking Toxic Family Members Can Be Just What You Needed

It isn't an easy choice but it can be the most rewarding.

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I haven't written for the Odyssey in quite some time due to this large issue in my life that I feel some people may also need to hear. Watching your parents go through a divorce can be difficult in itself, but what about having to remove one of your parents from your life at the same time? It's something I don't think many people could imagine doing. However, sometimes you are forced into the position between choosing what is best for your mental health or what is expected of you. For me, I realized that I needed to put myself first.

I realized that I am my own person. How I present myself and how I act and what I choose to believe in is how the world perceives me. I was faced with a parent who did not let me be who I am. The way I thought had to be in line with theirs. What I openly spoke about had to be in line with that parent's thoughts. This also, in turn, meant I had to revolve how I was perceived to the world around that parent's family. I had to abide by these societal norms and do what someone else expected of me. I realized that was ludicrous.

This parent was also abusive. They were toxic and manipulative and I could not stand idly by and just take that from them while also trying to become an independent young adult. I was forced to sit and watch one of my parents transform into someone I didn't recognize anymore. I had to watch them ignore any kind of reality checks and continue to feign innocence. I watched one of my parents mentally manipulate people I once called family into believing lies. I kept my head down and shut my mouth and kept taking the abuse. Now I'm at a point where I can confidently say that I am no longer afraid.

I was forced to cut ties with a parent that raised me, cared for me, attended school functions, fixed toys, bought me my first phone. I was forced to chuck out priceless memories for my own sanity. I could not sit idly by and allow myself to endure one more second of lies or abuse. I had to stand up for myself for once in my life and I blocked most of my family. I blocked cousins, aunts, uncles, and godparents. I changed my phone number that I had since 6th grade. I gave no warning and disappeared from my family's lives. Do I have regrets? No. I would do it again if I had to because I am so much stronger than sitting there and taking it.

I will have one less parent at my college graduation, which I am fighting so hard to achieve. I will have one less parent at my wedding. My future children will have one less grandparent. I mope in these thoughts but then I have to remember the other side of things. I will not have an unsupportive parent at my graduation and instead will have those that were there every step of the way. I will lack someone who was toxic at my wedding. My future children will never have to face the same abusive, toxic situations that my parent put me through. It was a difficult decision to make but one that I know in my heart is worthwhile.

Cutting a family member out of your life is difficult enough but cutting a parent is unimaginable. However, no one deserves to go through abusive situations. It shouldn't matter who the person is; if someone is treating you less than you deserve to be treated, they have no use being in your life. You should always be your first priority. You should never have to endure something for the sake of others. I am here to tell you that you are more than that and that cutting out a family member could actually be the best thing for you, even if it's incredibly difficult. I did it and I'm still here. It made me realize who my real family was, and there will never be enough thank you's in the world to show my mother just how much I appreciate her.

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