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vaccines & antibiotics

Even when we've been doing all the right things to look after ourselves, we can still end up getting too sick to fight germs when they attack. The good news is your family doctor will help you. He or she might give you medicines if you are too sick to fight the germs.

These are called antibiotics and they kill bacteria. Antibiotics only work against certain germs though - some are not affected. Your doctor will figure out which medicines to give you.

Fortunately your doctor also has vaccines to prevent you from getting more serious infectious diseases.

Although no one likes receiving a shot, sometimes known as a jab or injection, it's better than being sick! There are many different kinds of vaccines that protect against different germs. If you're an older kid, you're probably done with most of your shots, although it’s good to check with your parents or care-giver to see if you're up-to-date.


A vaccine works by telling your immune system to ‘get ready’ in case germs attack. Sometimes just one shot is all that's needed; sometimes more. Your doctor will give you appointments if you need a series of shots.

Booster Shots
All germs are different and your immune system may need a booster shot. Usually it's one shot, given to make sure your immune system ‘remembers’ what it should do if those germs come along. For example, a tetanus booster shot is usually given every ten years. You can ask your older family members if they have had their booster for tetanus because if not, they should get it done.

Sometimes people wonder about the side-effects of treatment.

Side-effects are problems that are not meant to happen after receiving a medicine or a shot. These side-effects are rare. 

Your doctor can tell you or your caregiver about any side-effects with a medicine or a shot. Most often, the benefit from having treatment is better than the small chance of having any side-effects.

Sometimes your arm may hurt a little bit after a shot, however this doesn’t really count as a side-effect.

Can We Do Without Vaccines?
You may have heard of the Mumps outbreak which happened in the UK in 2004 after many people decided against getting the vaccine. Then, when the mumps virus came around, a lot of people got sick because they were not ‘ready’ for the attack. 

Mumps attacks saliva glands and can make you feel miserable. The vaccine for mumps is very effective, so you might want to check and see if you got it, because you don’t want mumps!

Rabies Vaccines
Luckily for rabies there is also a vaccine, so people can be saved from rabies.  The shots really are not that bad either, but in the past they were terrible.

Most people don’t know how much the shots have improved, which is why they are afraid.

Find out more about when you might need a rabies shot.

Go to
The Rabies Virus
Go to Symptoms of Rabies
Back to Rabies Science