This is the time of year when children head back to school, and so it’s a good time to think about immunization.

National Institute of Health defines immunization, also called vaccination or shots, as an important way to protect an infant’s health.

Children must get at least some vaccines before they may attend school.

Vaccinations can prevent more than a dozen serious diseases, such as measles, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Failure to vaccinate may mean putting children at risk for serious and sometimes fatal diseases.

Infants are particularly vulnerable to infections — that is why it is so important to protect them with immunization, which help prevent the spread of disease and protect infants and toddlers against dangerous complications.

Most of the diseases mentioned above are now at their lowest levels in history, thanks to years of immunization.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids get combination vaccines (rather than single vaccines) whenever possible. Many vaccines are offered in combination to help reduce the number of shots a child receives. Vaccines work best when they are given at certain ages. For example, children don’t receive measles vaccine until they are at least one year old. If it is given earlier it might not work as well.

Here is a schedule of vaccines recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although some of the vaccines you receive as a child provide protection for many years, adults need immunizations, too.

So keep this in mind, vaccine shots may hurt a little, but the diseases they can prevent are a lot worse.

Image: Huffington Post