Vaccine-Preventable Childhood Diseases

You should vaccinate your child against several diseases before they are 2 years old. Getting your child the below vaccinations as early as possible can protect them from suffering throughout their life.

To be sure your child is fully vaccinated, talk to your doctor.

Recommended Child Vaccines

The Diphtheria Tetanus acellular Pertussis (DTaP) vaccine prevents:

  • Diphtheria. This serious disease can make it hard to breathe or swallow. Even with proper treatment, it kills about one out of every 10 patients.
  • Pertussis. Also known as whooping cough, this highly contagious illness causes severe coughing spells. In rare cases, it can lead to death. About 65% of the cases reported in the United States occur in children younger than five years old. About half of babies younger than one who get pertussis require hospitalization.
  • Tetanus. This bacterial illness, also known as lockjaw, enters through a wound and can affect the nervous system, causing spasms. Tetanus is fatal in up to two out of every 10 people who get it in the United States.

Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) causes pneumonia and various infections throughout the body, including in the bones, brain and heart. It is most serious among infants who are younger than one.

Before this vaccine was developed, Hib caused meningitis in about 20,000 children per year, with about 1,000 of those patients dying.

Hepatitis B is an infection that can be spread through blood, semen and vaginal fluids. As many as nine out of 10 infants who get infected from their mothers at birth or in infancy develop a chronic, long-term infection. That type of infection can lead to liver disease or cancer.

The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine prevents:

  • Measles. This highly contagious disease can lead to pneumonia and ear infections, which in turn can cause convulsions, deafness and mental retardation. About one in 10 children with measles get an ear infection that can result in permanent hearing loss.
  • Mumps. This viral illness can result in various complications and result in meningitis and deafness.
  • Rubella. Also known as German measles, rubella is most serious in pregnant women. If a woman gets rubella in early pregnancy, there is an 80% chance it will result in defects in the unborn child.

The Pneumococcus bacteria can cause a variety of pneumococcal diseases. It is the most common cause of bloodstream infections, pneumonia, meningitis and middle ear infections in young children. Most infections are mid, but some can result in long-term health problems or death.

A polio infection can affect the brain and spinal cord, leading to paralysis. It causes meningitis in about one out of every 25 people who have the infection.

Rotavirus can cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines, resulting in watery diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Infants and young children are the most likely to get this disease.

Chickenpox (Varicella Zoster) is a highly contagious disease that can cause aches and rashes, as well as painful skin lesions later in life. Before the vaccine was developed, chickenpox resulted in 9,000 hospitalizations and up to 100 deaths per year in the United States. Newborns are at an especially high risk of complications from chickenpox.

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