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Immunizations are a necessary evil of childhood. As a mother, it’s heartbreaking to have your one year old begin to cry as soon as you enter the pediatrician’s building out of fear of a shot, but every time you take him to the doctor, but immunizations are the reason the death rate for infectious disease among babies and young children is so low today. Following are the immunizations your child should receive, and the approximate ages at which they will receive them.
DTP – (Diptheria, tetanus and pertussis) – Your child will receive this vaccine at around two months of age, four months, six months, 12-18 months and the final dose between the ages of 4 and 6 years. The pertussis vaccine has a high risk of reaction, those most reactions are mild. However, you should ensure that your child is well at the time of the vaccine, and that you watch them closely for about 72 hours after the vaccine. Your doctor should provide you a complete list of possible reactions, and how to treat them. However, for certain, if your child runs a fever over 104°F or becomes limp or difficult to wake up, seek treatment immediately.
MMR – (Measles, mumps, rubella) – Your child will receive this vaccine between twelve and fifteen months of age, and then again sometime between the ages of 4 and 12 years old. Reactions to this vaccine are common, but mild, and don’t usually occur until about two weeks after the shot, so they are often not recognized as being associated with the vaccine. Some children have a mild rash and low grade fever, often accompanied by swelling of the glands in the neck.
VZV – (Varicella) – You probably didn’t receive this vaccine for chickenpox, but your child will receive it between 12 and 18 months of age. Reactions are few, and usually include just a mild fever.
Hib – (Hemophilus b) – This vaccine prevents a range of infections, including meningitis, caused by the hemophilus influenzae b virus. Your child will receive this vaccine at two, four and six months, and then again between 12 and 15 months. Some doctors offer Hib combined with DTP in one vaccine.
Hepatitis B – Your child probably will receive the first dose of this vaccine at birth, and will get doses again between two and four months and six to 18 months. This vaccine typically causes no reactions.
OPV – This is the polio vaccine, which has been successful at all but eradicating this crippling illness. Your child will receive doses at two and four months, at eighteen months and between four and six years. Children rarely suffer any reaction to this oral vaccine, though it is typically postponed if your child is sick.
Your child’s vaccinations are typically administered at well baby care visits. This is one of the reasons it is so important to regularly attend these appointments. Receiving the right vaccines at the right time is critical to your child’s health.