It's important that your child receives the recommended vaccinations - for the health of your family and the general public.
- Immunization is key to preventing disease among the general population.
- Following recommended guidelines for vaccinations can now prevent many childhood diseases.
- Although children receive the majority of the vaccinations, teens and adults also need to stay up-to-date on certain vaccinations, including tetanus and diphtheria.
- Vaccines benefit both the people who receive them, and the vulnerable, unvaccinated people around them, because the infection can no longer spread.
- Some vaccines require several doses over months or years, so make sure you record when and what vaccines your child has already received.
"Worldwide, there are more than 2 million deaths a year from infection in children less than 6 months of age,"says Ofer Levy, MD, PhD. "Also, from a global health perspective, if you can give a vaccine at birth, a much higher percentage of the population can be covered."
To view the most up-to-date U.S. Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedules from the Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, visit their Web site at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/child-schedule.htm
Recommended vaccines may include:
- the Meningococcal vaccine (MCV4), which protects against meningococcal disease
- the MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles)
- the Polio vaccine (IPV), which protects against polio
- the DTaP, which protect against diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough)
- the Hib vaccine, which protect against Haemophilus influenzae type b (which causes spinal meningitis)
- the HBV, which protects against hepatitis B
- the Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV7), which protects against pneumonia, infection in the blood and meningitis
- the Varicella vaccine, which protects against chickenpox
- the Rota Teg, which prevents rotavirus gastroenteritis in infants
- the Hep A vaccine, which prevents viral infection of the liver
- the HPV vaccine, which protects females from human papillomavirus, which is linked to cervical cancer.
Reactions to immunizations
As with any medication, vaccinations may cause reactions, usually in the form of a sore arm or a low-grade fever. Although serious reactions are rare, they can happen, and your child's physician or nurse may discuss these with you before giving the shots. However, the risks of contracting the diseases the immunizations provide protection from are higher than the risks of having a reaction to the vaccine.
- Children may experience fussiness, fever and pain after they have been immunized.
- You can help your child by:
- giving them some extra love and care after getting immunized, because the shots can also cause discomfort for a while
- giving your child plenty to drink
- clothing your child lightly - don't cover or wrap your child tightly
- sponging your child in a few inches of lukewarm (not cold) bath water
- for fever, do not give aspirin to your child without first contacting a physician. Aspirin, when given as treatment for viral fevers in children, has been associated with Reye syndrome, a potentially serious or deadly disorder. Instead, you may want to give your child acetaminophen, as directed by your child's physician.
- for swelling or pain, do not give aspirin to your child. You may want to give your child acetaminophen, as directed by your child's physician. A clean, cool washcloth may be applied over the sore area as needed.
If more serious symptoms occur, call your child's physician right away. These symptoms may include:
- a large area of redness and swelling around the area where the injection was given. The skin area may be warm to touch and very tender. There may also be red streaks coming from the initial site of the injection
- high fever
- your child is pale or limp
- your child has been crying incessantly for several minutes
- your child has a strange cry that is not normal (a high-pitched cry)
- shaking, twitching or jerking of the body.