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Vaccinations aren’t only for babies and toddlers according to a strict schedule, booster doses, eta! Adults need them too. Depending on your circumstances, your age, health history, childhood vaccinations, occupation and travel plans, you may be advised to have certain immunization shots. Here’s a handy guide. 

Immunization helps the body to fight off certain disease-causing bacteria or viruses. There are two kinds — active and passive — which offer protection —not only for baby but for you.

In active immunization vaccines (or toxoids) are used to help prevent infection by stimulating the body’s natural defense mechanisms. They are a suspension of either non-infectious fragments of bacteria or viruses or entire forms of these organisms that have been weakened so that they do not cause infections. 

Description: Immunization helps the body to fight off certain disease-causing bacteria or viruses.

Immunization helps the body to fight off certain disease-causing bacteria or viruses.

The body’s immune system responds to a vaccine by producing substances (such as anti and white blood cells) that go on high alert and attack the specific intruder, contained in the vaccines. What happens is that these antibodies and other substances are then automatically produced whenever you are later exposed to the self same baddies. The process of injecting the vaccine is called vaccination. 

In passive immunization antibodies against a specific infectious organism are given directly to you if your immune system doesn’t respond adequately to an infection or if you acquire an infection before you can be vaccinated. 

For example, Rustom B. was bitten by a stray dog and needed an anti-rabies shot and Reena had her foot run over by a hand cart and took an anti-tetanus injection. 

Passive immunization can also be used to prevent disease when exposure is likely and you do not have time to get or complete a vaccination series. This could be gamma globulin (an antibody preparation) to help prevent hepatitis when there is a patient in the family suffering from the ailment. 

Passive immunization lasts for only a few days or weeks, until the body eliminates the injected antibodies.

Description: The process of injecting the vaccine is called vaccination.

The process of injecting the vaccine is called vaccination.

Vaccines and toxoids are available to immunize against many deadly infections including chicken pox, cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis A + B, influenza, measles, mumps, plague, polio, rabies, typhoid, typhus, whooping cough, yellow fever.

Small pox, a once deadly infectious disease, has been eradicated world-wide through immunization. However because the vaccine’s protective effect wears off after about 10 years and fears about the possible use of small pox by terrorists, health authorities in the West have suggested that the vaccine be resumed. 

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