What Are Vaccinations and Does My Child Really Need Them?
Vaccinations, also known as immunizations, protect children from a number of fatal and serious diseases by prompting the body to produce antibodies to fight these infections. Vaccines boost the body’s own immunity. Some of the diseases that vaccines protect against include measles, polio, whooping cough and diphtheria. You may not have heard of these diseases and that is because these vaccinations are working properly. Vaccinations have significantly decreased the number of infections and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. They have eradicated many serious illnesses over the years. In spite of these statistics, many parents are still anxious about giving their children vaccinations because of the misinformation that they have received. Read below to learn all about vaccinations for your child.
Types of Vaccinations
There are a number of vaccinations that children need. Consult your physician for a complete schedule and recommendations. Here are some of the common vaccinations:
This vaccine protects against meningococcal infection. Meningitis is a serious bacterial infection. It is an infection of the covering of the spinal cord and brain. Even when treated with antibiotics, about 15 percent of people that get meningococcal disease die. Of those who live, many suffer strokes and seizures, become deaf, lose their legs or arms or have problems with their nervous systems. Although anyone can get meningococcal disease, it is most common in infants and children ages 16-21.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP)
This is a combination immunization that helps protect children from three serious illnesses: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. These illnesses are caused by bacteria. Pertussis and diphtheria are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through wounds or cuts.
- Diphtheria causes a thick mucus that covers the back of the throat. It often leads to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis or death.
- Tetanus, also called lockjaw, causes extremely painful tightening of the muscles throughout the body. It causes the jaw to become locked so that the victim cannot swallow or even open his mouth. Tetanus causes death in approximately 2 out of 10 cases.
- Pertussis is also called whooping cough. It causes terrible fits of coughing that makes it hard for the child to breathe, drink or eat. These coughing spells can lead to brain damage, seizures or even death.
The diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine prevents all of these illnesses. As you can see, childhood immunizations are very important, as they prevent serious illnesses from occurring. Vaccines are also very safe. They are rigorously tested to ensure that they are effective and safe before they are ever approved by the FDA.
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