Ocala Doctors

Firearms aside, getting shot is not always a bad thing. What we commonly refer to as "shots" are also known as immunizations or vaccinations. To clairify, a vaccination is when a vaccine is administered to you (usually by injection). Immunization is what happens in your body after you have the vaccination. The vaccine stimulates your immune system so that it can recognise the disease and protect you from future infection (that is, after you become immune to the infection).

Those injections we call shots may hurt a bit but the diseases they can prevent are a lot worse. Some can actually be life-threatening. Immunization shots, or vaccinations, are essential. These shots protect against things like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Immunizations are important for adults as well as children.

Our bodies have very efficent built-in defense systems. Your immune system helps your body fight germs by producing substances to combat them. Once it does, the immune system "remembers" the germ and can fight it again. Vaccines contain germs that have been killed or weakened. When given to a healthy person, the vaccine triggers the immune system to respond and thus build immunity.

Vaccines have all but eradicated many diseases. Most of us only know diphtheria as an obscure disease from long ago, thanks to the diphtheria vaccine babies get. This vaccine, called DTaP, provides protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). Diphtheria does still exist and causes a thick covering in the back of the nose or throat. It can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and even death. Make sure to vaccinate to help keep this dangerous infection from your kids.

Do not play "chicken" with the pox. A person with chickenpox may have a lot of blisters—as many as 500 all over their body. Chickenpox is a disease that causes an itchy rash of blisters and a fever. Even healthy children can get really sick. Vaccinating kids at an early age is especially important to keep your children healthy. Chickenpox can be serious and even life-threatening, especially in babies, adults, and people with weakened immune systems.