22 Jun 2018 | 8 min Read
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Author | Articles
Vaccines help protect your children against serious diseases that can cause serious harm and even death,. It’s important to vaccinate infants especially as their immune systems are still developing.
It’s important to first understand what vaccines are and how they work so that all your doubts as a parent are cleared.
Vaccines are made from very small amounts of dead or weak germs like viruses, toxins, bacteria that can cause diseases and that prepares our body to fight diseases effectively by stimulating the body’s natural defenses.
This is the most FAQ and the answer is, yes, vaccines are very safe as they go through stringent safety measures, that include clinical trials, safety testing before it is approved to be administered to the public.
According to the Government of India and the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), the following vaccinations are compulsory for every child:
Some children who get polio do not experience any symptoms. While, others get symptoms similar to the common cold. On the contrary, others might feel muscle pain and can be paralysed within a week.
There is no treatment for polio, and some children can also lose their life.
Children are vaccinated to prevent any infection in the case of exposure to HBV-positive material.
The virus enters the body through the mouth and spreads when it comes in contact with stool.
Diptheria is a thick covering at the back of the throat and causes breathing problems, paralysis and heart problems and even death in severe cases.
Tetanus is a disease wherein the muscles of the body contract all over the body and can lead to lockjaw. As a result, the victim would not be able to swallow.
Pertussis causes severe coughing spells that last for weeks and can lead to pneumonia, brain damage, convulsions and even death.
It can also cause pneumonia, severe swelling of the throat, infections of the joints, bones, covering of the heart, and even death in severe cases.
It prevents typhoid fever between nine months to 16 years.
MMR Vaccine: MMR is administered to prevent children from measles, mumps and rubella.
Measles is an infectious disease that can cause stomach problems, ear infections, convulsions, brain damage and pneumonia. Mumps can lead to meningitis and encephalitis.
It is advisable to take the second dosage at four to six years. It is given in two doses to ensure full protection.
Hepatitis A: Hepatitis virus causes Hepatitis A and affects the liver. The disease is transmitted through the faecal-oral route due to poor sanitation.
Studies show that 1.5 million children are diagnosed with Hepatitis A each year.
In addition to these, Varicella and PCV Booster are also mandatory vaccines in India. Varicella is required in two doses and prevents the child from chicken pox. PCV Booster prevents ear and blood infections.
Vaccination for babies is imperative. It is all the more essential as prevention is better than cure. Some babies experience mild reactions, such as pain and swelling where the shot is given or a fever. These are common and will go away soon.
Having fever after the shot is also normal and it means that your child’s immune system is responding to the vaccination. Hence, there is nothing to worry about. You can try over-the-counter medication like paracetamol to treat your baby’s fever.
You can try these tips for calming your child before getting a shot:
1. Ask for a pain-relieving ointment or spray: You can ask your child’s doctor for a pain-relieving ointment, which blocks pain signals from the skin. Since the ointment takes time to work, you can ask about it before your visit.
You can also request a cooling spray which is applied on your child’s arm or leg right before he/ she gets the shot.
2. Bring your child’s favourite things: You can bring anything that your child finds comforting. It can be a favourite toy or a blanket. This can help them focus on something pleasant. However, you must make sure to check with your doctor before bringing these items into the room.
3. Distract your child: Right before the shot, you can call out your child’s name, sing a lullaby, tell a story, or just act silly to draw your child’s attention away from the doctor. You can keep up with the distraction even after the vaccine is given.
4. Smile and stay calm: Your attitude and appearance is more important. This is because young children take cues from their parents. If you grimace or get tense, your child might become anxious too.
5. Celebrate: Even if the appointment didn’t go as smoothly as planned, try celebrating and praising them for being brave. It is an important role to help prepare them for the next time. Click photos and show them that you are proud. Let them know that they did a really good thing.
You can also follow these after the shot is given. It is important for you to remain upbeat and relaxed after the shot.
After the shot, you can calm your little one by swaddling them. Hugs, cuddles and soft whispers can help soothe babies after a shot.
There are some painless or acellular vaccines like DTwp and DTaP. These contain few antigens or only some of the cellular material, rather than complete cells which are found in the painful variants.
In India, these are still usually administered via syringe.
DISCLAIMER: We have taken steps to check the accuracy of information & practices shared above; however, it is not a replacement for a doctor’s opinion. Please check with either your doctor, or an expert, before trying any suggestion, practice, or medication mentioned here.