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Vaccines for Your Child: Things You Need to Know!

Vaccines for Your Child: Things You Need to Know!

Indeed, vaccines play an essential role in keeping us protected from life-threatening diseases such as- Pneumonia, Meningitis, Liver infections, etc


When it comes to vaccination, many questions pop up in one’s mind-

·        what is it made up of?

·        Is it safe?

·        At what age it should be taken? and much more.

This blog provides concise answers to these important issues.

What is a vaccine?

A vaccine is a tiny amount of weak/dead germs like viruses, bacteria, or toxins that can cause diseases.

1. BCG Vaccine

The Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine is used to prevent tuberculosis (TB). TB is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that affects the lungs, and sometimes other parts of the body.

It is specially designed to protect children from TB and effectively prevents severe TB in young infants. It can be given from birth onwards.

This vaccine is given by an injection just under the skin, usually on the upper left arm.

Cautions:

  1. Keep the area clean and dry.
  2. It is OK to bathe your child as usual. Carefully pat the area dry after washing.
  3. A wound dressing with gauze may be used if the area starts to ooze.
  4. Use a sterile alcohol swab to clean the area if required.
  5. Do not apply ointment, antiseptic creams, or sticking plasters (e.g. Band-Aids).

Reaction:

The usual reaction to BCG vaccination is redness and/or a small lump at the injection site, followed by a small ulcer (an open sore). It may last from a few weeks to a few months before healing to a small, flat scar.


2. DPT

This vaccine is given to protect one from Diphtheria, Pertussis/whooping cough, Tetanus (DPT)

Pertussis (Whooping cough) and diphtheria are serious diseases caused by bacteria and spread person-to-person through the air. Tetanus gets into the body through cuts or wounds.

These diseases are really deadly indeed!

Whooping cough can trigger such bad coughing that babies can’t breathe. Babies are the most likely to die from whooping cough and can have complications such as seizures and brain damage.

Tetanus can cause extremely painful muscle cramps all over the body. Diphtheria, on the other hand, can lead to severe breathing problems, heart problems, and paralysis.

Risks of the Diseases:

  1. Whooping cough is common all over the World, and recent outbreaks have caused many hospitalizations and deaths.
  2. Tetanus lives in the soil, so a child who plays outside can get infected even from a small injury.
  3. Diphtheria can occur in Unvaccinated Children.

Prevention:

You can protect your child from these serious diseases with vaccination.

All children should get 5 doses of DTaP/DTP vaccine, beginning when they’re 6 to 8weeks old.

If your child misses a dose or gets behind schedule, make sure they get the next dose as soon as possible.

3. Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease caused by a virus with which your child can get infected if he or she comes in contact with an infected person’s blood.

Babies can get the virus from their infected mothers at birth or if they live with or are cared for by an infected person. The virus can be spread just by sharing a toothbrush with an infected person.

Your child is more likely to become infected with Hepatitis B if a family member or caregiver is infected.

However, exposure to any infected person’s blood can cause Hepatitis B infection. Anyone can become infected with Hepatitis B virus at any time during their lives.

Risks of the Disease:

This disease is really dangerous and can cause an infected person to be sick for weeks or months, be hospitalized, and even death.

Babies and many young children who get infected can have the virus in their bodies for life. Most infected people do not feel sick, but the virus can cause serious problems like liver failure or liver cancer later in life.

Prevention:

Vaccination is the best way to protect your child from hepatitis B. It is important that babies get the first dose of vaccine in the hospital at birth so they will be protected from the virus as early as possible.

They should get 2 OR 3 doses (depending on the vaccine used) at later checkups. Older children and teens who haven’t been vaccinated should get their series of hepatitis B shots as soon as possible.

4. Rotavirus

Rotavirus is one of the most serious causes of diarrhea in infants and young children. This virus can live on surfaces for months. It spreads when contaminated hands, toys, or other objects touch the mouth.

Common symptoms of rotavirus disease include high fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Children often stop eating and drinking and become dehydrated (lose fluids).

Risks of the Disease:

Every year, rotavirus kills about a half million infants and young children globally. It is a very common disease in infants and young children.

Almost all unvaccinated children get infected with rotavirus before they are 5 years old. Even if you wash your hands and keep everything really clean, your child can still get infected if not vaccinated.

Prevention:

This is an oral vaccine which can protect your child from rotavirus. All children should get 2–3 doses (depending on the brand) of rotavirus vaccine starting at 2 months of age.

5. Polio

Polio is a disease caused by a virus and people have feared polio for generations because it can paralyze arms, legs, and breathing muscles.

Risk of the Disease:

Polio virus is spread when invisible particles of feces get into your mouth. One can get polio by swallowing contaminated food or water or by putting contaminated objects in your mouth.

Prevention:

Thanks to vaccination that polio has been under control in India. But the virus is still common in some parts of the world.

You can protect your child from polio only with vaccination.

6. Pneumococcal Vaccine

Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria that can lead to serious infections in the lungs (pneumonia), blood, and brain (meningitis).

It is caught by pneumococcal bacteria from infected people who cough or sneeze around you.

Risks of the Disease:

Even with good medical care, pneumococcal disease can be deadly. The disease is hard to treat because some bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics.

Pneumococcal bacteria can cause pneumonia, blood infections, and meningitis. Such infections can lead to deafness, brain damage, and even death.

Anyone can get pneumococcal disease. You are at greater risk if you are 65 or older, very young, or have certain health conditions.

Prevention:

You can protect yourself against these serious types of blood and brain infections by getting vaccinated.

There are 2 vaccines that can prevent pneumococcal disease:

1.      PCV13

2.    PPSV23

You should get both vaccines if you are age 65 years or older. You might need these shots before age 65 if you are a smoker or if you have certain health conditions.

7. Influenza

Influenza (flu) is a serious viral disease which makes your child feel miserable. Fever, cough, shaking chills, body aches, and extreme weakness are common symptoms.

Your child can catch influenza from people who cough, sneeze, or even just talk around him or her. It is very contagious.

Risks of the Disease:

Influenza is dangerous for children as well as for people of all ages. Children younger than 2 years of age are at particularly high risk for hospitalization due to complications of influenza.

Tragically, every year infants, children, teens, and adults die from influenza.

It can be serious for others, such as babies and grandparents, if your child passes the virus on to them.

Prevention:

Vaccination is the best way to protect your child from getting influenza.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against influenza every year.

Vaccination not only protects people who get immunized, it also protects others who are around them.

8. MMR

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) are serious diseases caused by viruses. All these diseases are spread person-to-person through the air. They are very contagious.

Risks of the Disease:

These viruses are very contagious, so when one person gets infected, it’s easy for the disease to spread. These diseases are still common around the world.

Measles can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and even death.

Mumps can lead to deafness, brain or spinal cord infection, and painful swelling of the testicles. Rubella can cause miscarriage or serious birth defects if a pregnant woman gets infected.

Prevention:

You can protect your child from these serious diseases with vaccination.

All children should get 2 doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine starting at 1 year of age.

Some teens may also need MMR vaccine if they didn’t get 2 doses when they were younger.


9. Typhoid Vaccine

Typhoid is an infection caused by bacteria. It spreads through contamination of food and water and ingesting these contaminated foods.

The symptoms include fever, toxic look, coated tongue, in few cases mild jaundice and swelling over the liver may be present.


Risk of the Disease:
It can cause pneumonia, heart problems, infection in the brain, bones or joints. Sometimes bleeding and infection in the intestines may also occur.

Prevention:

Vaccine and general hygiene measures like drinking boiled water with regular washing of raw fruits and vegetables before consumption ensures reasonable good prevention.

10. Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by a virus. The virus is found in the feces (poop) of infected people. The hepatitis A virus is spread when invisible particles of feces get into a person’s mouth.

It is also caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water or just by living with an infected person.

Risks of the Diseases:

If occurs in a child can make a child’s skin and eyes turn yellow. It makes the patient so sick for weeks that he might need to be hospitalized. Some people don’t look or feel sick, but they can still spread hepatitis A to others.

Everyone is at some risk for getting infected with hepatitis A.

Prevention:

Vaccination is the best way to protect your child from hepatitis A. Young children should get 2 doses 6 months apart OR 1 Dose depending on Brand of Vaccine of the hepatitis A as part of their regular checkups.

The first dose is given at 1 year of age.

Ask your healthcare provider if your older child or teen should receive hepatitis A vaccine.

11. HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. HPV can lead to cervical cancer in women, as well as other oral and genital (sex organ) cancers in men and women. HPV also can cause genital warts.

A person can get the HPV virus during sexual contact without knowing it.

Risks of the Disease:

HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer. It can also lead to cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, throat, and mouth.

Unprotected sexual activity can lead to this disease. At least half of sexually active people get infected with HPV at some point in their lives.

Prevention:

Vaccination is the best way to stay protected from HPV infection. This vaccine is most effective if given before a person becomes sexually active. However, even if sexual activity has begun, a person can still be protected by the vaccine.

12. Chickenpox

Chickenpox (varicella) is a disease caused by a virus. Most people with chickenpox get very itchy blisters and sores all over their body.

Chickenpox is spread person-to-person through the air. It is very contagious.

Risks of the Disease:

Chickenpox is still infecting people all over the world. It is extremely contagious and can be spread by an infected person before they even know they’re sick.

It is a serious disease for people of all ages. The disease can cause serious skin infections, pneumonia, brain damage, and even death. Chickenpox is especially dangerous for people whose immune systems are weak because of illness or medications.

Prevention:

You can protect your child from chicken-pox with vaccination.

All children should get 2 doses of chicken­pox vaccine starting at 1 year of age. Some teens and adults may also need this vaccine if they didn’t get 2 doses of the vaccine or chickenpox disease when they were younger.

Conclusion:

I am sure this comprehensive article has provided you with sufficient information for you to make an informed decision about vaccinating your child. For any further queries, contact your Pediatrician.

If you want to know more about vaccination contact us at Chaitanya Hospital

Dr. Vivek Walia