Immunity 101: How Do I Know My Status?
You probably don’t think about your immunity status on a daily basis—but it can impact your long-term plans, including school enrollment, travel and employment. Learn more about what immunity is and how we can help you understand your status with resources like our Standard Immunity Test.
What is immunity and why is it important to know my status?
Your immunity and immunity status are connected to your immune system, which is the body’s center for fighting infection and disease. Your immunity is your body’s overall ability to fight these infections and diseases.
Typically, when we’re children, we receive vaccines for serious diseases such as mumps, measles and rubella (MMR)—as well as vaccines the ones for chickenpox and hepatitis B (HBV). You also may have recovered from infections like these before, giving you some protective immunity from contracting these diseases.
Blood tests like our Standard Immunity Test are performed to determine whether or not you have protective antibodies from vaccines or prior infection. Results and data from vaccines you’ve received—including vaccine type, potency and schedule—and information about prior infections you’ve had comprise your immunity status.
So why is knowing your immunity status important? First, receiving vaccinations for diseases like chickenpox is another way to protect against being infected or prevent spreading the disease to others. Second, immunization records are either often required or helpful for major life moments such as:
- School. You may be required to provide proof of immunization before attending a new school
- Employment. Some employers may require proof of immunity before your start date
- Travel. Knowing your immunity status can help you have peace of mind for traveling to new places, familiar ones or ones required for work
Which diseases are important to knowing my immunity status?
1) Chickenpox. A contagious viral disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and spread through close contact. Symptoms include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite and headache, followed by small, itchy blisters which can spread across the body. The CDC recommends two doses of the chickenpox vaccine, which provides nearly 90% effectiveness in preventing the disease.
2) Measles. A disease caused by a highly contagious virus that can be spread by coughing, sneezing and breathing. Symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes and rash. Two doses of the MMR vaccine provide about 97% effectiveness in preventing the disease.
3) Mumps. A contagious disease that causes swelling of the salivary glands and can be spread by coughing, sneezing and even breathing. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite and swollen salivary glands. Two doses of the MMR vaccine provide about 88% effectiveness in preventing the disease.
4) Rubella. A contagious disease that causes low-grade fever, sore throat and a total body rash. Rubella can also cause fertility and reproductive issues, including birth defects. Just one dose of the MMR vaccine provides nearly 97% effectiveness in preventing the disease.
5) Hepatitis B. A contagious virus that attacks the liver and can be spread through contact with infected blood and other bodily fluids. Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and yellowing of the skin and eyes.
If you’re looking for proof of immunization for these diseases—whether it’s for work, school or generally keeping yourself and your community protected—you can explore Labcorp OnDemand’s immunity titer offerings.
What is an antibody/immunity titer and why should I get one?
Antibodies are responses from your immune system to fight disease-causing invaders known as antigens. And an immunity titer is a blood test that detects and measures antibody levels, which can give a clear picture of your immunity status toward a certain disease.
If you were immunized earlier in life, your immunity may have declined over time. An immunity titer can also help determine if a vaccination or a booster is needed. If you’ve received vaccination against a specific disease, this test helps you figure out if the vaccine you received still offers adequate protection.
The results of these titers can help you and your healthcare provider get a better understanding of your immunity status and determine if further vaccinations are necessary.
Where can I get a titer done?
Knowing your immunity status is as simple as speaking with your healthcare provider, who can order an immunity titer and help you understand the results.
But when major life events come up, you may not have time to schedule an appointment. Our testing menu includes disease-specific tests as well as the Standard Immunity Test, a five-in-one titer that measures your immunity status for five diseases.
Standard Immunity Test
Knowing your immunity status to these diseases helps in several ways, from providing proof for major life events to simply having a better picture of your overall health. Help protect yourself and your community—learn your status today!