FRIDAY, Aug. 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- As parents start preparing to send their young ones back to the classroom, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it's a good time to remember that vaccines play an important role in keeping children healthy.
So, make sure your child is up-to-date on immunizations and fully protected from diseases such as measles, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough), the agency advises.
"Parents should know that vaccines protect children from many serious illnesses from infectious diseases. The risk of being harmed by vaccines is much smaller than the risk of serious illness from infectious diseases," Marion Gruber, director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review at the FDA, said in an agency news release.
Most side effects of vaccines are minor and temporary. For example, there may be soreness at the injection site or a child may develop a mild fever.
When getting your child vaccinated, review the vaccine information sheets. By law, health care professionals must provide the sheets, which outline both the benefits and risks of a vaccine, Gruber said.
Before your child is vaccinated, inform your health care provider about any health conditions.
"This might include being sick or having a history of certain allergic or other adverse reactions to previous vaccinations or their components. For example, eggs are used to produce many influenza (flu) vaccines; therefore, it is important to inform your health care professional if your child is severely allergic to eggs," the FDA advises.
Also, the packaging of some vaccines that come in vials or prefilled syringes may contain natural rubber latex, which can trigger allergic reactions in latex-sensitive children, the FDA says. Alert your health care professional if your child is allergic to latex.
Parents and caregivers also need to discuss with their health care professional which vaccines should or should not be given to a child with a weakened immune system.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on vaccines.