Vaccines for Better or Worse

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No one likes being vaccinated. The injection hurts and there is a lot of sometimes conflicting information out there making the subject very complicated. Do you know how vaccines work? And how do you handle the fear of being vaccinated?

Vaccinations are your choice

You might be against vaccination and share your experience of being perfectly healthy. Good for you, but how about the community you live in? Have friends, family members, co-workers or neighbors been vaccinated?

In most countries vaccines are not mandatory, although governments tend to be pro vaccination. People can be excluded from vaccination programs for many reasons, for example on religious or ethical grounds. I’m not here to tell you what to do. You should make your own decision.

Do your homework

Be skeptical and read as much as you can – or at least the most important findings – that have been published. Or become an activist, if you want a world where people don’t die of diseases, because they were ill informed and not vaccinated. Whatever you do; just do your homework and make an informed decision.

If you do, you will find out that Jennifer Lopez, supports parents getting the DTaP – the latest form of the well-known DTP – vaccine. Her goal is to prevent parents, through purely a lack of information, from unwittingly making their children ill.

I believe everything you put in a body has an effect on that body. This makes perfect sense; For example if you eat healthily, it will be visible in your blood. So a vaccine will – and should – have an effect on your body. Though, of course, risks can be attached to getting one.

Life in (y)our healthy world

As a kid I got shots for measles and diphtheria, among others. My parents made this decision for me, and looking back I’m happy they did. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for giving a baby or unborn child an illness it can never recover from.

I’m heading to Asia soon and know that my vaccinations are up to date, but I’m also aware that I’m not 100% immune. I can’t predict whom I’ll be meeting and can’t detect unvaccinated people just by looking. As a father or mother, rice on the table is your first priority.

Bill Gates supports the Decade of Vaccines collaboration. His foundation has contributed 10 billion dollars to support developing countries. The money is spent to make vaccines available on a global scale. Therefore reducing morality rates especially of children.

Practical information: You’ve always wondered about

By now, you’ve either decided upon getting vaccinations or to think about the subject a little more. If you need to get vaccinations for an upcoming journey or if your child needs them soon, the following will help you through.

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Can a vaccine injection make you ill?

Before you get vaccinated, you need to understand how a vaccine works. Vaccines contain the virus or bacteria, from the diseases you are seeking protection from. You will get a weakened dose; therefore the injection won’t make you ill. Your body sees the intruders though and is activated to make antibodies. Next time the virus or bacteria comes along the body disposes it quickly as it has remembered how to fight the intruders.

Why do some injections hurt more than others?

If you are vaccinated, you’ll notice that some shots hurt while others give an uneasy feeling, which is gone quickly. There are two types of vaccine injections. One goes underneath the skin and the other into the muscle, which is called an intramuscular injection. The second one is also the one that hurts as this one is set with a bigger needle. The recent Typhus shot I got for my journey to Asia is of the latter category, but you won’t hear me complaining (that much).

Where to get your shot?

Babies get vaccine injections in their thighs, while children and adults mostly receive these in the upper arms. Babies don’t need to walk to school or be in class. For children the arm is a better position, as the spot around the injection can be a little painful afterwards. The arm is often used, as the injection can be set without damaging other internal organs or hitting bone. Vaccines can also be set in the buttocks or hip.

How to make sure the injection is set right?

It’s important that the doctor puts the injection in the right place. Certain injections need to go underneath the skin in fat tissue and others intramuscular. The body needs to respond to the vaccine – by creating antibodies – therefore a certain blood flow is necessary. If the injection is set wrong, you won’t get ill, but the vaccine might not be effective.

Where to get your shot if you’re a couple?

If you love each other, don’t get the injection in the same arm. If you’re sleeping, you will be avoiding the painful arm. This is not so cosy for your spouse. We are both left-handed, and got injected in the good arm, not so handy for writing poems. Luckily typing goes well. Having the shot in the arm you work with most will help eliminate the uncomfortable feeling sooner. Blood flow and tissue return to normal quicker by movement.

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Get ready for your injection

I don’t like needles, so I always look the other way when I’m vaccinated. To get you though, I’ve collected a few helpful tips;

  • Work on your mindset. Don’t think about the shot so much or the pain. Just think about staying healthy and wanting to become old gracefully, immunization helps you.
  • Think of something, somewhere or someone you love, your mind is strong. If you can wonder off that exotic place, where you swam with dolphins in the sparkling blue ocean, you will be done quickly.
  • Play your favorite tune. We all know music is powerful, with the right song we can go ‘all night long’. So with your favorite artist on your headphones, you will be distracted enough and this won’t take all night long.
  • Take deep breath and stay calm. Try to relax your muscles as much as you can, because then the shot will not hurt so much.
  • Do it together. Try distracting your friend, family member or child with a fun activity coming up, like a shopping spree for girls or sports match for guys. By entertaining them, the shot is done in no time.

Aftercare: be grateful and move your body!
Be happy that you got a shot, even when it hurts now. You’re protected from illnesses you wouldn’t wish to your worst enemy. Share the uncomfortable feeling with your friend, partner or kid and drink a cup of tea. Don’t forget you need to move your body, so the injection is spread through your body and hurts less. So go dancing, do it now (and maybe J-Lo can join you)!

The last words haven’t been said, as the subject goes viral once again and this is a complicated matter. Not only, because of different opinions and beliefs, but also because the matter is not easy to consume. The peg to put all coats on is not given. So I hope this blog gives you a good framework to start. To be continued… (*)

(*) Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. So please contact your doctor if you need medical advice. This blog is written, because of my interest in the subject. Do you have improvements or tips? I’m looking forward to your comments. Thank you!

Source: 1, 2, 3

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