It's only natural for you to want your child to stay healthy. Childhood vaccines (shots) are one way to protect your child's future. Shots are very important because they help keep your child from getting very sick or even dying. Shots protect your child from eleven diseases— diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumococcal disease, poliomyelitis (polio), rubella (German measles), tetanus, and varicella (chickenpox). These diseases can cause serious illnesses. For example, Haemophilus influenza type b can damage a child's brain and polio can cripple a child. Except for tetanus, all of these diseases are contagious. That means that one child or adult can pass a disease to another, sometimes by just being in the same room. When children are not immunized, serious outbreaks occur and many children become ill or die.
Causes of Immunizations, Childhood
There are seven types of vaccines (shots) that your child should receive between birth and six years of age. These shots are: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae), HepB (hepatitis B), MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), Pneumococcal conjugate (pneumococcal disease), IPV (Poliomyelitis), and Varicella (chickenpox). There is a schedule that shows which shots should be given at each age. It is best to follow the recommended schedule. If your child gets behind the schedule, it is important to catch up so that your child will be safe from these serious diseases.
DTaP What is it? DTaP is the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. When to get it? Children should get the DTaP vaccine (shot) at 2, 4, 6, and 15 months of age, and again at 4-6 years of age. When to wait? If your child is sick with more than just a cold (check with your child's doctor), the shot should not be given until your child is feeling better. If your child gets behind on shots, it is best to catch up as soon as possible. Who should not get it? If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, check with your doctor before making an appointment for your child's shots. Has your child ever had a bad reaction to a shot? Has your child ever had a seizure (jerking and staring)? Has your child's parent, brother, or sister had a seizure? Does your child have a brain problem that is getting worse? What are the risks? Most children do not have any problems with the shot. However, as with any medicine, there is a small risk that your child could become very ill or even die from the shot.
Signs and Symptoms of Immunizations, Childhood
There are vaccines that prevent other diseases. These vaccines are not recommended for all children. Click on the disease to get more information
Hepatitis A Lyme disease Influenza
Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease. Hepatitis A can cause "flu-like" symptoms, yellow skin (jaundice), severe stomach pains, and diarrhea. Hepatitis A is found in the stool of people who have the disease. It can be given to others by close contact with an infected person or by eating foods that an infected person touches. HepA is the shot against Hepatitis A. HepA shots are recommended for children, two years of age or older, who live in areas where there is a high number of Hepatitis A cases. To find out more, contact your local public health department or your doctor. Lyme disease Lyme disease is a serious disease caused by being bitten by an infected tick. About three days after a person is infected with lyme disease, there is usually a round, red, rash that is 2 inches wide or more. This rash usually gets bigger every day and disappears in about a month. Lyme disease can cause pain and swelling of the joints, numbness in the face, changes in the heartbeat, and problems with memory. The Lyme disease vaccine can prevent this disease. The vaccine is recommended for people between 15 and 70 years of age who live in an area where Lyme disease is a problem. To find our more, contact your doctor or the local public health department. Influenza Influenza is a disease that can cause serious illness in elderly persons or children and/or adults with health problems. Influenza can cause sore throat, fever, cough, chills, headache, and muscle aches. The influenza vaccine is offered every year in October and November. Parents of children with asthma, weakened immune systems, HIV/AIDS, and other health problems should check with their child's doctor to see if their child should receive this vaccine.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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