Baby vaccinations are an integral part of your baby’s health care. These vaccinations work to protect your baby from rare yet horrible diseases such as polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and mumps. Vaccinations usually take place from birth to the time your child is 18 months old. They also generally take place at regular intervals such as 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and so on. However depending on your child’s health and the types of vaccines that are being given, this can vary somewhat. The American Academy of Pediatrics does have a standard schedule of vaccinations that they recommend every child and practitioner follows. A summary of these vaccinations and their timetables are below.
The DTap Vaccine
This vaccination protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, all of which are spread through bacteria. Diphtheria causes a coating to form on the back of the throat as well as the nose. It is very contagious and can cause respiratory problems, paralysis, and heart problems.
Tetanus is also known as “lock jaw” because the jaw can become clenched so badly that it prevents the baby from eating or swallowing. However, tetanus doesn’t only occur around the jaw area but can cause a tightening of all the muscles within the body. Tetanus enters the body through any open wounds.
Pertussis is also known as “whooping cough” and causes babies to have a very bad cough for several weeks. Worse than the cough though, pertussis can cause brain damage, pneumonia and seizures.
The DTap vaccine is given several times throughout a child’s first five to six years. The ages this vaccine is given are: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 – 18 months, and 4 – 6 years.
The Hib Vaccination
Hib is a short form for Haemophilus Influenzae type b. This is another serious disease that is caused by bacteria. If a child should become infected with Hib it can lead to pneumonia, severe swelling in the throat, a thin covering over the heart, blood infections, as well as joint and bone infections. The Hib vaccination is also given several times throughout the baby’s first year. The times this vaccination is administered are: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 – 15 months.
The Hepatitis B Vaccine
Hepatitis B is a very serious disease that is caused by a virus. Should a child contract this disease, they may experience some short-term illnesses such as diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and jaundice. However, Hepatitis B can have even more serious long-term effects such as liver damage, including liver cancer. The Hepatitis B vaccine is given at 3 different times. These are when the baby is approximately 2 months of age, 1 – 4 months of age, and 6 – 18 months of age. It’s very important that the first two doses are given at least one month after the first was given.
The MMR Vaccine
The MMR vaccine protects your child against the mumps, measles, and rubella. Mumps is a viral infection that can cause some mild discomfort such as fever, headache, and swelling of the glands. However, the mumps can also cause much more serious conditions such as meningitis and swelling of the testicles and ovaries.
Measles is another very serious disease that is also highly contagious. While the usual symptoms include a rash, fever, runny nose, and cough. Measles though can also cause very serious illnesses. These include ear infections, seizures, pneumonia, and brain damage.
Rubella, also known as German Measles, presents itself as a red rash that begins on the face. Swelling of the lymph nodes and a mild fever are other symptoms that are also present. Rubella can also show up with no symptoms but it’s generally a mild sickness that will run its own course in just a few days. The people most at risk for contracting rubella are pregnant women. Should rubella become a problem during pregnancy, it can cause serious harm for the woman and fetus, including miscarriage and birth defects.
The MMR vaccine is given only twice. The first injection is any time when the baby is between the ages of 12 – 15 months old. The second dosage is usually given during the ages of 4 – 6. The second dose can actually be administered at any time, as long as it falls 28 days after the first dose.
The IPV Vaccine
The IPV vaccine protects children against polio. Polio is an illness that can cause no problems, or such severe problems as paralysis. Another worry with polio is that it’s very easy to contract because it’s a virus that enters through the mouth. The IPV vaccine is given at 4 different times. These times are during the ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 – 18 months, and 4 – 6 years.
The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
This vaccine protects against streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, which is the leading cause of meningitis in the United States. The times this vaccine should be given are: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 – 15 months.