Why We Still Vaccinate
Though they're unusual in the United States, infections like pertussis, mumps, measles, and even polio and diphtheria are still commonplace in many areas around the globe. "These infections can be just one plane ride away, which is why we have to continue to vaccinate," explains Michael Pichichero, MD, professor of microbiology/ immunology, pediatrics, and medicine at the University of Rochester, in New York State. Even if you're a stay-at-home kind of family, your child can catch a contagious disease from a neighbor, a friend, or a complete stranger who sneezes as she walks by you in the grocery store. So if you were wondering why your baby is scheduled to be immunized for a whopping 14 diseases in her first year of life, think about this: The reason these ailments sound so outdated is because of the success of vaccines. Even though outbreaks do occur in the U.S., there's been a dramatic decrease in the incidence of preventable diseases thanks to the increasing number of inoculations. And study after study has shown that the vaccines your children receive are safe. We've put together a guide to keep you -- and your baby -- up to speed on her shots.