Shots are never fun for both children and their parents. They can be painful and cause fussiness for several days following. However, as much as we dread taking our children to be immunized, we must realize it is for their good. August is National Immunization Awareness Month. This month-long event is designed to educate and encourage parents to keep their children current with their immunization shots.

Immunizations are designed to prevent infection and develop your body's immunity to the disease. There are numerous recommended vaccines to prevent diseases such as measles, polio, tetanus, rotavirus and more. These shots can be wonderful tools to help fight against many infections but they are not designed for illnesses such as the common cold.

Even though these shots have been lifesaving, there is still some controversy about the importance of immunizing your child. Here are three reasons why you should stay current with your child's shots.

1. Studies point to safe immunizations

Studies say vaccines will not create a plethora of problems when they enter your child's body. In fact, you might only notice a few minor side effects. After receiving shots, some pain, redness and swelling may occur but you shouldn't worry about your child becoming sick just days after receiving his shots. According to an article published by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines have been thoroughly tested by scientists multiple times and will not be given unless they are found to be safe. Strong systems are set in place to monitor the safety of the vaccines and ensure they do not cause any serious complications.

Additionally, many parents worry about injecting multiple vaccines into their child's body simultaneously and the harm it may cause to their child's immune system. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants and children fight off approximately 2,000 to 6,000 germs every day. That is much more than the 150 antigens (or germs) their immune system must fight after receiving all of their required immunizations.

2. Immunizations protect you and your family

Staying current on your family's immunizations is one way to prevent the spreading of illness and disease. Vaccines help your body fight against dangerous illnesses. They are not designed to entirely prevent an illness or disease from occurring, but they are an excellent barrier. Staying up to date on your family's vaccines is particularly important if you have a baby under 6 months of age in your home. At this age, your child cannot fully be vaccinated and is more prone to becoming sick. Ensuring that others in your home are current with their shots will make it harder for those dreaded illnesses to come near.

3. Immunizations can save you money

A sick child can not only cause a mound of stress, they can also cause a pile of medical bills, time off work and long, sleepless nights. When children contract certain illnesses, like whooping cough, they may spend days in the hospital. If you work, you will want to be home taking care of your child, losing payable hours. It is easy to prevent this from happening. By taking the time to immunize your child, you can make a strong attempt to prevent this dreaded situation.

Remember, keeping current on your immunizations does not mean your child will never be sick. Vaccines are wonderful tools but prevent only the diseases they were developed for. They take only a few minutes of your time and can prevent a multitude of problems. But the choice is yours as a parent.

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