Most doctors and medical experts agree that vaccinations are generally safe. Though complications are possible, they are said to be rare. Doctors frequently tell their patients that the dangers of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases far outweigh the risks of receiving the vaccinations. However, when any level of risk is present, it is wise to know and consider the risks carefully.
Many individuals worry about the potential dangers of vaccinating their children. The common childhood vaccinations, given as a matter of course in many countries, can be lifesaving. However, the concept of allowing someone to inject a pathogen, albeit weakened or dead, into a loved one’s body can be frightening. The idea of receiving such vaccinations yourself can be a bit sobering as well. The good news is the vast majority of people do not have adverse reactions to vaccinations; when reactions do occur, they are usually mild and harmless.
For vaccinations to be approved for use, they must pass many tests. Once they are approved for safety and effectiveness, they are carefully monitored by government and healthcare agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A reporting system exists, as well, enabling individuals to report adverse reactions to immunizations without delay. If problems with a particular vaccine are discovered, safety alerts are issued, changes are made as needed, and the vaccine may be discontinued.
The most common reaction to vaccinations is fever, usually mild, and soreness at the site of injection. In children, crankiness may be present as well; this is particularly true with very small children and infants. Usually, such symptoms are expected and not serious. Many doctors recommend an over-the-counter fever reducer and pain reliever to relieve these symptoms. However, high fevers, lethargy, severe pain, and other out-of-the-ordinary symptoms should be reported to a healthcare professional immediately.
In rare cases, vaccinations may cause allergic reactions, shock, convulsions, seizures, brain damage, or death. Meningitis and encephalitis are also rare, but possible, vaccine complications. Some individuals have experienced pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints following the administering of certain vaccines. Most vaccines do not cause symptoms of the diseases they work to prevent. However, some, such as the influenza vaccine, can cause a milder form of the symptoms you would experience if you contracted the actual disease.
To fully understand the dangers, as well as the benefits, of any vaccines you are considering, consult with your doctor. Ask for handouts for the vaccines in questions, detailing both the benefits and the risks. In most cases, you will see that you are more at risk for dangerous complications if you actually catch a disease than you are from being vaccinated against it. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and let you doctor know of your concerns. With all the facts at hand, you’ll be much more prepared to make important health decisions.