Immunity is one of the most important branches of modern medicine. It deals with the ideal principle of “prevention is better than cure.”
Therefore, it is important for everyone to understand how it works, what the principles behind it are, what the post-vaccine care is and what mistakes we often make when trying to learn about this branch of medicine.
What are vaccines in the first place?
Vaccines are nothing but products that build a person’s immunity towards the diseases they look to prevent. Doctors administer vaccines orally, in aerosol form, or through injections.
Now, let’s take a brief look at the history of vaccines.
A Brief History:
Modern vaccines were preceded by a process called variolation. A common method with relation to small pox, it meant inoculating individuals with the virus to create a mild yet protective infection.
Experts have found instances of inoculation of small pox as early as 10th century in China. The Chinese also used another method known as ‘nasal insufflation’ which they blew up their nostrils to immunize themselves. These would mostly consist of dried small pox scabs.
It was Edward Jenner in the 1760s who discovered that dairy farmers who were infected with cow pox, a mild variant, would never have the nearly fatal small pox. To give more credence to this realization, Jenner inoculated an 8-year-old boy with small pox after having immunized him with cow pox a few weeks earlier.
Finally, in 1798 Jenner concluded his studies and claimed that his vaccine was safe to use on children and adults. This would prevent small pox infection. Louis Pasteur developed vaccines for fatal diseases like anthrax and chicken cholera in the late 1800s and vaccines slowly became mainstream preventive medicine.
How does vaccine differ from vaccination and immunization?
Now that you have an idea of what vaccines are and how they were developed as a part of medicine, here’s what makes them different from vaccination and immunization.
Vaccination – This is generally an injectable vaccine that immunizes individuals from various diseases. Medical professionals use this form of vaccines all over the world.
Immunization – The whole process of vaccines and vaccination is collectively known as immunization.
With an understanding of vaccines and its history, now you can look into the residue elements that may be present in vaccines.
- Vaccines have elements known as adjuvants that look to trigger stronger immune response. Individuals need less dosage because of the use of these adjuvants.
- Some vaccines have antibiotics in them to prevent bacterial multiplication during their storage.
- Monosodium glutamate is present in some vaccines as a stabilizer to prevent them from reacting to the changing environment.
- Manufacturers add antimicrobials like Thimerosal to keep pathogens under control and stop them from multiplying. A lot of controversy surrounds the mercury residue present in Thimerosal. Most vaccines today are rid of their vaccine mercury content or have reduced it to the bare minimum.
- Formaldehyde is also present in vaccines to kill pathogens so that they do not cause any infection.
Hope, what are vaccines is clear to you now.
As the shots can have minor side effects, here are 2 essential tips you could follow for your child’s post vaccine care.
- Rub the skin gently
Right after the vaccine shot, rub the area gently to lessen the pain of injection.
- Cold Compress
Applying cold compress after vaccination can really help soothe any sign of pain or discomfort that they might have. It also reduces inflammation and soreness.
- Do not panic in case of fever
Kids often get fever as a common symptom after immunization. There is no need to panic. Check with your doctor for any necessary medication and administer doses carefully.
Last but not the least; give lots of liquid to your child as the little one might eat less within 24 hours of vaccination.
Keep these tips and details in mind about vaccines and you will have a better time understanding what are vaccines, what to do post-vaccination and other such aspects.