Part of being a responsible parent is making sure that you have your baby vaccinated properly. There are a number of very dangerous, even life threatening conditions which have been all but eradicated as a result of the development of a number of vaccines. However, these illnesses can still pop up from time to time and for this reason it is never a good idea to become complacent when it comes to protecting your infant. You never know when an epidemic will occur which involves a disease people haven’t seen in years. Because of this be sure to discuss vaccines with your doctor. Following is a list of illnesses your infant will need to be protected against.
A vaccine for this horrible illness which affects the liver is suggested for all babies born within the United States. This illness is caused by the HBV virus and is highly contagious. The disease presents with a variety of different symptoms from vomiting to jaundice and can cause death, especially in the very young or elderly. Hepatitis B was originally known as serum hepatitis and has caused major epidemics in many parts of the world, including Africa and Asia. There have been about 2 billion people afflicted with this disease, about a 3rd of the world’s population. The biggest complication with hepatitis B can be the development of more serious diseases of the liver such as cirrhosis and cancer.
Rotavirus is the single most common cause of severe diarrhea in children and infants. In fact, almost 90% of all infants and children under the age of five will have diarrhea which has been caused by this virus by the time they reach five. The severity of the illness will depend greatly on the child and is determined on a case by case basis. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of children die from complications related to the virus every year. The only way to protect your baby to some degree is to have him/her vaccination against this potentially deadly virus.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP)
This vaccination helps protect babies against three different illnesses, the first being diphtheria, a very serous disease of the respiratory system which can be deadly. While this disease has been all but eradicated in the US, there have been several cases between 1980 and today. Tetanus is a disease which affects the neurological system and is usually caused by exposure to a contaminated surface through a rusty nail or other such culprit. Not only are children to be initially vaccinated for tetanus, but there are often times when a booster is given if a wound which would have caused exposure is reported. Pertussis, also known as "whooping cough" is often deadly in young babies. This condition causes inflammation of the lungs and usually results in constricted air flow. It is accompanied by a high fever and a severe cough.
Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib)
This is a bacterial disease which is estimated to cause approximately 3 million serious illnesses every year. Of those 3 million, almost 400,000 of them result in death. This is usually due to secondary complications such as meningitis and pneumonia. In addition, almost all of the victims are babies and kids under the age of five. Statistically, children between the ages of 4 and 18 months are the most likely candidate to come down with this illness. Proper vaccination for Hib can help protect infants and children from this killer.
This particular vaccine covers a number of pneumococcal infections such as strep, meningitis, severe ear infections and blood infections. Prior to this vaccine there were around 800 cases of meningitis, 5 million ear infections, as well as about 13,000 blood infections reported in kids below the age of five every year. The success rate of this vaccine is rated at about 90% making it responsible for saving millions of children from these complications every year.
Polio is a debilitating disease with can cause full or partial paralysis. Thanks to the vaccine for this horrible disease, there haven’t been very many reported cases since the turn of the century. However, it is still highly recommended that infants receive a Polio vaccination as part of his/her regular immunizations. This disease is highly contagious which is why the vaccination is so important. If not for the vaccination the spread of this illness could be literally devastating to young children and adults alike.
The flu can be a very deadly virus, especially in infants and elderly people. Up until recently, babies were not given flu shots. However, today a flu shot is part of the required vaccinations that babies and children must receive. The influenza virus can lead to serious complications such as high fever, vomiting, and even death. Each year millions of people are stricken with the flu and many of these incidences may have been avoided by simply receiving a flu shot.
Mumps, Measles and Rubella
This is one of the oldest vaccines in terms of what has been available to infants in the US. It covers three very distinct common childhood illnesses. None of these illnesses in itself can be considered deadly; however, all three of them can lead to secondary infections which could cause further complications to arise. Because of the widely available vaccination, the medical profession has been able to keep these diseases at bay, for the most part.
This illness is characterized by a series of sores, or "pox" which can literally cover a child’s body. It is often accompanied by a fever. The worst thing about chicken pox is that it is extremely uncomfortable as it is itchy and as a result can lead to horrible and permanent scarring if a child Is permitted to scratch these sores. There has not always been a vaccination for this particular illness and typically it is believed that once a child has it once he/she will not be affected by it again.
This is an extremely serious condition which causes inflammation of the membranes covering the spinal chord and brain. This disease can be deadly, especially in young children. There have been quite a few cases of bacterial meningitis in the past couple of decades, in the US. Not only is this disease dangerous and potentially deadly but it is also highly contagious. The vaccination for meningitis is believed to be quite effective in protecting young infants and children alike.
Many parents have begin shying away from having their infants vaccinated as aresult of bad press and a lot of possible reactions which have cost babies their lives. If you are worried about giving your baby vaccines, make sure and talk it over with your doctor. In some cases, half doses of the vaccine are administered per request. Remember, these diseases are nothing to play around with and the possibility of a bad reaction to vaccines is probably much lower than the risk involved in remaining unvaccinated.