The common childhood diseases are not all harmless and often very unpleasant, but they can also be dangerous for your child. Your child has to endure bad symptoms such as high fever, vomiting, nausea, rash, meningitis and much more if you are not vaccinated against the virus in question. In order to protect your child from the typical childhood diseases and to save yourself a lot of worries and fears, vaccinations for children and babies can be used to prevent them.
We have listed the most important diseases for you and packed the pro’s and con’s for the respective vaccinations.
Even doctors who are critical of vaccinations recommend this vaccination because tetanus bacteria enter the body through dirty, deep wounds. At the latest when your child starts to walk, minor abrasions can no longer be avoided. Vaccination against tetanus should start as early as the 3rd month. This should then be repeated after 2 months. Another vaccination is planned after the 12th and 15th month. This is then refreshed again after five years.
Diphtheria causes a fatal sore throat. It can only rarely be found in Germany, although it has recently appeared more frequently in Eastern European countries. STIKO recommends carrying out the diphtheria vaccination together with the tetanus vaccination in the third month of life. The second vaccination follows after 4-6 weeks and the third vaccination follows after another 6-12 months. The vaccination protection then lasts for about five years. Complications from vaccination are very rare. However, you can also have the vaccination carried out at a later point in time if you do not want to vaccinate your child so early. But ask your pediatrician first, because at certain times there are often epidemics from Eastern Europe. Early vaccination can then be very useful.
Hib (Haemophilus influenza)
The type B bacteria are pus pathogens that can cause meningitis and epiglottis in childhood. Children under 18 months are most at risk. That is why vaccination commission recommends doing this as early as possible and as part of a six-fold vaccination (with whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B and polio) in the third month of life. Unfortunately, individual vaccinations have not been possible since spring 2005.
Whooping cough is characterized by short, severe coughing attacks that usually occur at night. This disease is always unpleasant for children, but it is really dangerous only for infants up to six months old. According to vaccination commission, the first vaccination is recommended when the child is three months old. In order to be really immune, you still have to wait for the follow-up vaccination in the fourth and fifth month of life. Then the baby is almost 6 months old and whooping cough is hardly dangerous. The parents have to consider whether they want to spare their child this unpleasant disease and assess the risk of infection.
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Polio is almost non-existent in Europe. Oral vaccination is no longer the norm in Germany – nowadays a dead vaccination is carried out to prevent the disease from recurring. This should also be carried out as part of the six-fold vaccination. There are also single vaccinations or triple vaccinations in combination with tetanus and diphtheria, which can also be carried out at one year.
Hepatitis B is a form of jaundice that can be transmitted through bodily fluids, but only if the virus gets into a bleeding wound. Although it can only appear at the age of a young adult, this vaccination is carried out as early as the third month of life. Vaccination critics emphasize, however, that an infection of infants is rather unlikely and they would be unnecessarily burdened by the vaccine. According to recommendations, you should only have your child vaccinated shortly before puberty. Newborns whose mothers have hepatitis B are the exception. If this is the case, the children must be actively and passively immunized immediately after birth.
Measles can sometimes lead to brain inflammation. However, this only leads to permanent damage in every third case. Measles can take a more severe course from the age of ten and it is recommended to carry out a combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccination at the age of 11 and 14 months. The vaccination must then be boosted 2 months later. Children up to the age of ten usually cope well with the measles disease, provided there are no other risks. Parents should check with their pediatrician whether early vaccination makes sense. If parents choose not to have their child vaccinated, then you should reconsider between the ages of 9 and 12.
Since rubella can often cause fetal malformations in pregnant women, every girl should be vaccinated against the virus with a view to future pregnancy. It is recommended to do this in combination with the measles and mumps vaccination. Also because of the desired eradication of the disease, whereby rubella disease does not pose a danger to children. Some parents decide that their child will go through with the disease because immunity is there afterwards and this is more effective than vaccination due to its duration. A blood test for rubella antibodies should be carried out at the age of 12 in unvaccinated girls. If there are no or too few antibodies, a vaccination can then be carried out in consultation with the doctor.
With this feverish viral disease, testicular infections can occur in boys after puberty and lead to infertility. It is recommended to carry out a combined vaccination against mumps with rubella and measles – already in the 12th month of life. As with rubella, you can wait until you are 12 years old before getting the vaccination and have a blood test done. If you have not had mumps by then, doctors recommend vaccination.
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