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Health Q&A - Infant immunizations

April 08, 2002|BY Christine L. Moats

To ensure the health and safety of your child, make sure he or she gets all vaccinations at the right time. Keep a record of your child's immunizations from birth. A schedule of immunizations and at what ages a child should receive them is listed by The Centers for Disease Control on the Web at www.cdc.gov/nip or call 1-800-232-2522. You can also print out a schedule to keep for your own records. Infant Immunization Week is April 14 to 20. Make sure your child's immunizations are up-to-date.

Q: Why are immunizations so important?

A: The immunities that newborns receive from their mothers only last from one month to approximately one year. There are some diseases for which a newborn does not have a maternal immunity, whooping cough being one of them, therefore it is very important to be vaccinated.

Before vaccines existed, many children died from diseases such as measles or polio. It is very important to have your child immunized at the proper age so that if he is exposed to a disease, his body is able to fight off the illness.

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Having your child/infant immunized can help protect the health of entire community. Some individuals cannot be immunized for various reasons however they are still susceptible to the diseases. Immunization of the people around them helps lessen the possibility of disease outbreaks or epidemics.

Q: What diseases can be prevented with immunizations?

A: The childhood diseases vaccinations provide protection against are:

Diphtheria

Tetanus (lockjaw)

Pertussis (whooping cough)

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis B

Haemophilus influenzae (a major cause of bacterial meningitis)

Measles

Mumps

Rubella (German measles)

Pneumococcal pneumonia caused by streptococcus

Polio

Varicella (Chickenpox)

Q: Are there side effects from vaccinations?

A: There may be some side effects from vaccines, including slight fever, rash, or soreness at the site of injection. Some discomfort is normal at the site of the injection.

Christine L. Moats is wellness coordinator for Washington County Hospital.

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