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Q: How important are immunizations?

Posted February 13, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Immunizations help the immune system recognize and quickly attack organisms that can cause diseases and therefore help avoid health problems. Immunizations are given in a single shot or oral dose, while others require several doses over a period of time. Always schedule your child(ren) for their immunizations according to the schedule your physician has available. There is no need to delay immunizations. If your child(ren) are ill with a minor cold or other illness, contact your physician prior to cancelling immunization appointments to see if this is necessary.

The need for immunizations does not end with childhood. Thousands of people are hospitalized and many die as a result of influenza (flu) and other diseases that can be prevented by immunizations. Medical experts are constantly reviewing the effectiveness of immunization programs and will make recommended changes to the immunization schedule. Your physician can provide you the most up-to-date information concerning this schedule and can talk with you about new vaccines or recommended ages for vaccines. If you are considering not having your child(ren) immunized, please talk with your physician first. There are few valid reasons for not having your child(ren) or yourself immunized.

Keep good records of your family’s immunizations. Most physician offices have access to and use the State of Iowa’s IRIS program. This online program allows physician offices to record immunizations by patient so there is one record of all the immunizations that patient has received regardless of physician office.

Information from “Healthwise Handbook, A Self-Care Guide for You and Your Family,” provided by Ronda Montgomery, Norwalk Family Physicians, 801 Colonial Circle, 285-3200.

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