What is immunization and what major roles does it play?

 What is immunization and what major roles does it play?

The internet is in for a shock since Samantha Ruth Prabhu took to social media about her being diagnosed with an auto- immune disease, myositis. The actor suffering from myositis has made everyone curious about the disease and what is the cure to it. 

Auto- immune condition is a condition when the immune system attacks healthy cells of the body by mistake. It can affect any part of the body and its cause is not known. To prevent this immunization is very important. 

Immunization is a very simple yet effective way to protect your health from a series of diseases and infections. It not only provides protection from diseases but also lays a foundation for a healthy future. Immunization has been saving billions of lives since five decades ago.

Now let us learn about the immune system to better understand immunization. 

The immune system is the body’s defence technique, protecting against attackers like bacteria and viruses to keep us healthy.

Cells are the main building blocks of the body on which the immune system relies, each playing an important role. White blood cells found in our main bloodstream are the main component of the human immune system.

White blood cells are located throughout the body, in the lymph nodes, spleen, lungs, intestines and skin and hence are allowed to deal with pathogens wherever they enter the body.

What is immunization?

Immunization is the process of applying a vaccine to create resistance against specific diseases. The vaccines encourage the immune system of the body for protection against infection and diseases. For example, smallpox vaccines. Immunization creates antibodies in the body so that it can recognize the disease or infection and protect you from further infection. 

How does Immunization work?

The vaccine contains the dead or weakened form or the virus or bacteria injected into your body. The immune system does not know whether the vaccine virus is strong, weak or dead and receives the virus as a red-alert, considering it to be dangerous. As a response to this, the immune system quickly creates antibodies to fight the virus and clear it. Every time your body fights against a certain disease or infection, it becomes stronger. So when you catch a similar infection in the future for real, the immunity responds effectively. Without catching any sort of disease or spread of infection, the antibodies remove the virus.

According to the World Health Organization, immunization stops an estimated 2-3 million deaths every year, providing protection from diphtheria, pneumonia, pertussis (whooping cough), rotavirus diarrhea, rubella, tetanus, smallpox, polio, mumps, and measles. We have managed to remove many severe diseases which killed people in groups and bunches. Still, an estimated 19.5 million infants are not fully immunized with routine vaccines. There is an urgent need to better communicate the health benefits and the dangers of not immunizing children.

Is immunization only for children?

No, immunization is not only for children, even adults and elders need shots of vaccines to increase immunity. We live in an environment where we are not fully assured that we are safe from any infection or a specific disease. So the risk of new diseases may come any time and at any stage of our lives. Immunization for adults is equally important. 

What are the benefits of immunization?

As there is a saying that prevention is better than cure!!! Immunization works in the same principle as it prevents the diseases from occurrence or recurrence. There are many diseases and life-threatening infections that have no medical treatment and may cause severe complications, and sometimes turn fatal. A few benefits of immunization are as follows:

  • Immunization protects against infectious disease : The main purpose of immunization is to prevent people from getting sick. It protects people against the complications of becoming ill, including developing chronic diseases, cancer, and death.

  • Immunization harnesses the body’s own defense mechanisms: The body's own defence mechanism i.e the immune system responds to pathogens and prevents infection. Taking a vaccine before exposure to the infection develops protective immunity in advance and avoids the serious outcomes of the disease.

  • Child’s immunity is fragile : Children are more prone to diseases as compared to adults, even for a mild change of weather or change in food habits. Immunization prevents the spread of diseases from one child to another.

  • Prevents autoimmune disorders : Immunization improves the ability of the immunity in the body. A stronger immunity relates to good health but not all children are born with a healthy immune system. Some are born with defective immunity while others may fall prey to auto-immune conditions. The only prevention to this is immunization.

  • Cost of immunization or vaccines is lower than treatment of the disease itself.

  • Some of the infections can turn epidemic, affecting the whole community. Immunized people have low to no risk of epidemic diseases.

Vaccination is disease-specific

Immune responses are very specific, and that is the reason we need to have a specific vaccine for every disease.

The immune system responds separately to each pathogen (bacteria or viruses) it encounters. It cannot be ‘overdosed' by giving the full range of currently available vaccines or by having multiple antigens in one vaccine.

Where to Go for Immunization?

Getting vaccinated or immunized is convenient, you can get the most recommended vaccines at your doctor’s office. You can schedule an appointment with the some best immunologists, to talk about vaccines you and your family may need. 




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