The human body is a miraculous machine. A built-in thermostat, electrical regulating device, and a network of interconnected vessels are just a few of the systems that work together to produce amazing results. One of the most fascinating systems in the body is the immune system. Strategically built to attack viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders, the immune system is programmed as the body’s defense squad. Although this system is extremely powerful on its own, there are ways that people can enhance their immune system’s ability to fight off infection and ultimately keep their body healthier. Simple things, like getting flu shots and vaccines, can help save lives.
When a bacteria or virus enters the body, the immune system responds by producing antibodies. Not only do the antibodies work to destroy the invading germs, but they remain in the bloodstream and protect the individual from any subsequent infections. If the bacteria or virus should enter the body a second time, the immune system will be ready to fight. People build up immunity to various bacteria, parasites, and viruses over time. However, many of these microbes can cause severe illness or death to an individual during their first exposure.
How Can Vaccines Help?
Vaccines have saved millions of lives throughout the years. This potent solution contains weakened or dead microbes. The vaccination is given by injection and immediately begins to stimulate antibody production. Some vaccines are available in a nasal spray and an oral form as well. Vaccinations allow people to build immunity to a bacteria or virus without actually becoming sick. There are vaccinations available for a wide-variety of vicious microbes, including measles, pertussis, polio, tetanus, hepatitis, rubella, diphtheria, as well as a host of other diseases.
Adults Need Vaccinations Too
While vaccinations are generally given to children as they are growing and developing, adults need routine vaccinations as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all adults have the following vaccinations:
- Measles, Mumps, and Rubella: According to the CDC, approximately 200,000 people die worldwide from measles. Adults who are traveling overseas, work in the healthcare industry, or did not receive their childhood immunizations should have an MMR vaccination.
- Influenza: Although many people get the flu each year, nearly 40,000 people die annually from the influenza virus. People with egg allergies or other immune conditions should not get a flu shot.
- Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis: Adults who received the TDAP vaccination as a child should get a Td booster every 10 years, especially if they are in close contact with infants.
- Hepatitis B: Many people are unaware that they are infected with hepatitis B and can spread it to others through blood or semen.
- Shingles: This severely painful and debilitating condition can occur in anyone who has had chickenpox.
- Pneumonia: The pneumococcus bacteria can cause meningitis, pneumonia, and blood infections in people of all ages. Infants, young children, and senior citizens have an increased risk for getting the bacteria.
There are plenty of different diseases that can be prevented, which is why one can’t stress the importance of vaccinations enough. Vaccinations for children and adults are considered preventable care and may be free under The Affordable Care Act. Those who are not fully immunized should speak to a reputable health care professional about the importance of vaccinations.