Childhood Vaccinations : Vaccines to consider
Medical Care for Children
No one wants an unhealthy child. Most parents spend a lot of time and effort on ensuring that their child is brought us as a healthy, well adjusted child. The trouble lies in the fact that there are many different opinions about how to achieve that single end result.
While parenting styles differ from family to family and parent to parent in the same family, all agree that regular medical care is needed for the child to be healthy. Here too however there is some debate over if a child must be given vaccinations or not.
For those who believe it is unnecessary I must say this hub will be of little use. For those who believe that protecting a child from various diseases using vaccinations is a good idea, read on to learn about the basic vaccinations that you child below 6 must have.
Why use Vaccines?
What is a Vaccine?
A Vaccine is essentially an injection. However it contains germs and disease causing antigens. So what do we inject our child with them? These antigen are weakened versions of the actual disease causing ones and allow the child's immune system to fight back. This allows the child to develop the right antibodies it needs to fight these antigens. So in the future if the child is attacked by the same antigen the body's immune system will be ready with the right antibody to fight and prevent the disease.
What are the Essential Childhood Vaccines?
As your child's immune system is totally unprepared for any kind of germs it is natural for kids to keep falling ill till the immune system develops all the right antibodies to keep disease at bay. To help the child in this process there are a set of vaccinations that you must inject the child with at specific ages.
The picture below gives the name of the vaccine and the recommended age for the injection. It has been taken from the recommendations of the American Academy of Family Physicians. All over the world you have more or less the same child vaccination schedule in place. Some countries add extra ones that are more likely to strike the child in that country to this list.
The Vaccine and the Disease
The HepB vaccine as it is known is used to protect the child against hepatitis B. This is a disease which affects the liver. It is a series of shots which must be given to the child at periodic intervals.
This strain of diarrhea causing virus is a disease that most infants suffer from. It is a contagious and highly infective virus. The RV vaccine helps children produce antibodies to fight the virus better.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis
The DTP vaccine is a three in one shot. It protects the child against Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis as mentioned in the name. Diphtheria is a disease affecting the throat. Tetanus is related to painful muscle spasms and Pertussis is the formal name for whooping cough.
Haemophilus influenzae type b
The Hib vaccine can protect the child from the flu like symptoms that can eventually lead to meningitis and pneumonia. It is also possible for the child to choke due to the severe throat infection that this organism can cause.
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or PCV fights against a bacteria which tends to cause ear infections in children. Again it is a series of four doses given to the infants. It can also be given to older children who are at risk from the bacteria.
Polio is not yet eradicated and this despite the vaccine being an oral one. It takes two drops of the IPV vaccine given to the child to drink to begin the immunization. It is a series of oral drops that the child must be given periodically to avoid contracting polio.
Also known as the annual flu shot, this vaccine helps protect the children from flu. While many people avoid getting the annual flu shot, there is a definite difference in the body's immune system compared to those who have not had the flu shot.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella
The MMR vaccine is again a three in one protector against these three diseases. Measles can start as a bad cold with a rash and then become far more serious if not immediately treated. It is highly infectious. Mumps is also a viral infection which is very infectious. Rubella results in high fever, swollen glands and even rashes.
The Varicella vaccine helps protect the child against chicken pox. From personal experience I can say this is truly the worst of all the diseases that a child can suffer from. It is a series of two shots that I highly advocate.
The Hep A vaccine is a series of two doses given at competing one year and one and half year. If you wish to protect your child against jaundice this is needed. While you may feel that jaundice is not something that can affect your family, it can.
The meningococcal conjugate vaccine or MCV protects your child against four different strains of a bacteria known to cause bacterial meningitis. This is a disease where the brain and spinal cord are at risk. I don't think you need to be instructed on how important it is to protect these two organs.