Immunizations: Recommended Ones
Immunizations or vaccines can protect your child from serious, life-threatening infections. Epidemics used to kill millions of people in the world each year. Providing a safe water supply was the first important public health measure. Immunizations were the second critical advance in controlling infectious disease. Normally we only get an infectious disease once because the body's immune system builds antibodies against that germ at the time of the infection. Vaccines contain germs in killed or weakened forms that permit the body to build antibodies without experiencing the real disease.
Today, routine immunizations can protect your child against the following important diseases:
- First: The DTaP vaccine protects against 3 bacteria: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. Diphtheria is a serious throat infection that can close off the airway. Pertussis or whooping cough invades the lungs and can cause the breathing to stop. Tetanus can cause deadly wound infections.
- Second: The polio vaccine can prevent a viral disease that attacks nerves and leaves people weak or paralyzed.
- Third: The Hib (H-I-B) vaccine protects against the Haemophilus influenzae bacteria which was the number one cause of meningitis.
- Fourth: The Hepatitis B vaccine protects against liver infections and later liver cancer.
- Fifth: The Hepatitis A vaccine protects against the most common liver infection and jaundice.
- Sixth: The MMR vaccine protects against 3 viruses: measles, mumps, and rubella. Measles causes a widespread rash, but has many complications, including encephalitis and pneumonia. Mumps causes swollen parotid glands in front of the ears. Mumps was once the leading cause of permanent one-sided deafness and it also caused encephalitis. Rubella or German measles only causes a mild rash, but for pregnant women, it can cause serious birth defects in the unborn child.
- Seventh: The chickenpox vaccine prevents chickenpox which causes 400 sores on the average and makes a child miserable for a week. Chickenpox can also have life-threatening complications.
- Eighth: The pneumococcus vaccine protects against a common bacterial cause of meningitis, as well as the main cause of pneumonia and blood stream infections.
- Ninth: The meningococcal vaccine protects against a type of bacterial meningitis that usually occurs in teens and college students.
- Tenth: The Rotavirus vaccine protects against a vomiting-diarrhea illness that causes dehydration in many young infants.
- Finally: Most states require children to be immunized before school entry at age 5 or 6. But immunization should start by 2 months of life and the basic series should be completed by 18 months. Most deaths and serious complications from these diseases occur when children are small. So don't postpone your child's immunizations. Try to get him fully protected before his second birthday.
If you have other questions about immunizations, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/8/2007 1:19:50 PM
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.