What are germs?
Germs are microorganisms. This means that they can be seen only through a microscope. They can be found everywhere - in the air, soil, and water. There are also germs on your skin and in your body. Many germs live in and on our bodies without causing harm. Some even help us to stay healthy. But some germs can make you sick. Infectious diseases are diseases that are caused by germs.
The main types of germs are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.How do germs spread?
There are different ways that germs can spread, including:
You can help protect yourself and others from germs:
When you breathe, your lungs take in oxygen from the air and deliver it to the bloodstream. The cells in your body need oxygen to work and grow. During a normal day, you breathe nearly 25,000 times. People with lung disease have difficulty breathing. Millions of people in the U.S. have lung disease. If all types of lung disease are lumped together, it is the number three killer in the United States.
The term lung disease refers to many disorders affecting the lungs, such as asthma, COPD, infections like influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis, lung cancer, and many other breathing problems. Some lung diseases can lead to respiratory failure.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
What are vaccines?
Vaccines play an important role in keeping us healthy. They protect us from serious and sometimes deadly diseases. Vaccines are injections (shots), liquids, pills, or nasal sprays that you take to teach your body's immune system to recognize and defend against harmful germs. The germs could be viruses or bacteria.
Some types of vaccines contain germs that cause disease. But the germs have been killed or weakened enough that they won't make you sick. Some vaccines only contain a part of a germ. Other types of vaccines include instructions for your cells to make a protein of the germ.
These different vaccine types all spark an immune response, which helps your body fight off the germs. Your immune system will also remember the germ and attack it if that germ ever invades again. This protection against a certain disease is called immunity.
These diseases can be very serious. Because of this, getting immunity from a vaccine is safer than getting immunity by being sick with the disease. And for a few vaccines, getting vaccinated can actually give you a better immune response than getting the disease would.Do vaccines cause side effects?
As with medicines, any vaccine can cause side effects. Most of the time the side effects are minor, such as a sore arm, fatigue, or mild fever. They usually go away within a few days. These common side effects are often a sign that your body is starting to build immunity against a disease.
Serious side effects from vaccines can happen, but they are very rare. These side effects could include a severe allergic reaction. Other possible side effects are different for each vaccine. Talk with your health care provider if you're concerned about your health after getting vaccinated.
Some people worry that childhood vaccines could cause autism spectrum disorder (ASD). But many scientific studies have looked at this and have found no link between vaccines and ASD.How are vaccines tested for safety?
Every vaccine that is approved in the United States goes through extensive safety testing. It starts with testing and evaluation of the vaccine before it's approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This process can often take several years.:
Testing and monitoring continue after the vaccine is approved:
These high safety standards and testing help to make sure that vaccines in the United States are safe. Vaccines help protect against serious, even deadly, diseases. They not only protect you, but also help to keep these diseases from spreading to others.