April is the month we celebrate National Immunization Awareness Week. Here at Closing the Gap, we think it’s important to raise awareness and help educate about infection and disease prevention. Having the right information is important to help teach our family members some best practices to staying healthy all year long.
The Truth About Vaccines
Disease prevention through immunization has been a heated issue in the news and media, and a full-blown war between concerned parents and the medical profession. There are many theories floating around that vaccines are inherently dangerous and can cause incurable illnesses and disorders like autism. The first line of defense in the fight to end diseases is awareness and education.
The truth about vaccines is that they protect us and our children from harmful yet preventable diseases. According to Immunize Canada, “Immunization has saved more lives than any other health intervention, and has contributed to the reduction in morbidity and mortality in adults, children and other vulnerable populations.” Thanks to vaccines, some diseases are entirely eradicated, such as deadly smallpox, which hasn’t been contracted by anyone on the planet for 40 years.
Your Attitude Makes All the Difference
Your child receives some of their vaccines when they’re too young to understand what’s going on. However, there are some shots they will have to get during their adolescence, which can scare them. As a parent, you play a vital role in reducing your child’s stress and anxiety. While teaching them about vaccinations and how they work can go a long way in eradicating their fear, there are more ways you can help to relieve your child’s stress, such as:
- Taking slow, deep breaths and showing how calm you are about the process. Your kid will pick up on your mood and be comforted by it.
- If your child is nervous during the vaccination, allowing them to sit upright on your lap while the shot is given will relax and soothe them.
Keeping Healthy Around the House
Proper hygiene starts in the home. If you have children, you know just how difficult it can be to keep a clean house. Just by being the wonderful, curious, rambunctious and immune-deficient people that they are, they tend to get covered in bacteria and germs. All sorts of non-edible items end up in their mouths and they have no problem getting dirty. Is it any wonder that children new to daycare get sick almost immediately, and then pass it on to the rest of their family?
Everyone gets sick at some point, and there’s nothing we can do about it. But there are some germs that we should be prudent to avoid, such as:
Coming into contact with these common household germs can cause gastroenteritis, intestinal illnesses, staph infections, and peritonitis, to name a few.
The Benefits of Hand Washing & Disinfecting
People posit that mild exposure to germs can strengthen our immunity just as a vaccine would. However, there are some germs, like the ones mentioned above, that we should try our best to avoid. Luckily, hand washing and disinfecting areas of the home that hands and bacteria frequently contact (like remote controls, handles, cutting boards, counters and toilet flushers) go a long way in eliminating and preventing the spread of these germs.
Have fun teaching your child to wash their hands by singing the alphabet with them as they do it. The length of the alphabet is a general guideline for how long we should scrub with soap and water. There is nothing we can really do to control the outside world, but since children spend most of their time at home, maintaining proper hygiene can go a long way to keep your family safe and healthy.