An insight into child immunizations and its importance

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Childhood vaccines or immunizations can seem overwhelming when you are a new parent. Immunization is the single most important way parents can protect their children from serious diseases. Vaccinating your child is very important especially since there are no effective alternatives to immunization. Vaccinations protect your child from life-threatening diseases like polio, tetanus, diphtheria etc. . A vaccine is nothing but a dead, or weakened version, or part of the germ that causes the disease in question. When children are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, their immune system, which is the body’s germ-fighting machine, can build up antibodies that protect them from contracting the disease. How to keep track of immunization

A child’s vaccination ought to be completed from birth to 6 years. Many vaccines are given more than once, at different ages, in different combinations. So we need to be careful and keep a record of your child’s shots.

Keep a record of the immunization as you would keep track of his/her birth certificate and other essential documents. Despite parents and doctors doing a good job of keeping up to date with immunizations, studies have shown that about 1 in 4 kids are missing out at least one of the routine vaccinations. No matter what the reason, it is important to make up for the missed immunization. If your child has missed out on an immunization, you need not go back and begin all over again. The previous immunizations still hold good and your doctor may just resume the immunization schedule. Here is a common immunization schedule recommended from ages 2-6:

  1. One vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), Hepatitis A.
  2. Four vaccinations for Haemophilus influenzae(Hib), a common upper respiratory infection that can also cause meningitis.
  3. Three to four polio vaccinations (IPV).
  4. Four vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DPT).
  5. Three vaccinations for hepatitis B.
  6. One vaccination for varicella (chickenpox) no earlier than age 12 months and only if your child does not develop chickenpox on his or her own (must be verified by a health care provider).
  7. Three vaccinations for rotavirus, a type of infection that causes severe diarrhoea.
  8. Four vaccinations for pneumococcal disease, a common cause of ear infections and pneumonia.
  9. Booster shots for DPT, IPV, MMR, and chickenpox from age 4 to 6.
  10. Yearly flu shot after age 6 months.
Here are some final tips for immunizations
  1. Common side effects may suffice such as swelling at the site of injection, soreness and fever. Make sure to discuss with your health provider and ask for symptoms.
  2. Ask your doctor’s office if they have an immunization reminder or a recall system. It will call to remind you when your immunization is due and warn you if you have missed any immunization.
  3. Vaccines are some of the safest and most effective medicines we have, and they have made many dangerous childhood diseases rare today.
  4. Always bring your immunizations record with you to all of your child’s office visits and make sure the doctor signs and dates every immunization.
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