Babies are vulnerable to a number of diseases, and they need vaccines to protect them from infection. Start vaccinations on-time, and stay on-time so that your baby has the best protection possible.
According to the latest national figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four children has not received all of the recommended vaccines on-time by age 2. This puts children at much greater risk of infection, and the consequences can be heartbreaking. For instance, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) can result in lifelong complications, such as mental retardation, learning disabilities and deafness. Like Hib, other vaccine-preventable diseases can be life-altering or even fatal.
In response to the startling number of children at risk, PKIDs is launching a national campaign alerting parents to MOVE—Make On-time Vaccination Easy—to prevent the potential devastation that these diseases can cause.
Tips on how to Make On-time Vaccination Easy
2. Ask Questions
3. Plan Ahead
On April 22, 2006, Kelly Lacek and her husband rushed Matthew, their three-year-old son, to a Pittsburgh-area emergency department because he was struggling to breathe. After being examined and spending three hours in the hospital, a staff pediatrician looked at Matthew and immediately realized that he was suffering from epiglottitis (swelling of the windpipe), typically caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (commonly referred to as Hib).
Since the introduction of Hib vaccine in the 1980s, the number of Hib cases has declined by more than 99 percent, and most physicians have never encountered a case. But the physician who examined Matthew had seen Hib disease 25 years earlier, which enabled him to diagnose Matthew and recommend appropriate treatment.
Matthew required a breathing tube and spent six days being treated in the hospital before returning home. He has made a full recovery and doctors believe that he should not experience any long-term complications.
This serious disease nearly took Matthew’s life. It is not known how Matthew acquired the infection, but he was at risk because he had not received any of the recommended infant vaccines.
Some misleading information caused Kelly and her husband to question the practice of immunization. They had Matthew’s best interests in mind when they decided not to vaccinate him. Now, after Matthew’s experience with Hib disease, Kelly is an advocate for on-time childhood vaccination and is getting Matthew caught up on his vaccines. The Lacek’s 10-year old daughter and 7-year old son are fully vaccinated. Kelly and her husband hope that other parents can benefit from their experience.
In January 2005, Chauntell had what she thought was just a cold, and then her newborn son got it too. Rather than getting better, over the next few weeks their conditions worsened. Chauntell eventually became too ill to care for Geoffrey, and his coughing spells became so severe that one day he stopped breathing. Chauntell and her husband rushed Geoffrey to the hospital. He was tested for a respiratory virus and sent home when the test came back negative.
Within a few days, Geoffrey’s condition worsened to the point that Chauntell and her husband rushed him back to the emergency room. This time the doctors determined that he had whooping cough, and, based on her symptoms, she had given it to him.
Geoffrey was admitted to the hospital and placed in isolation with no stimulation—any time he got excited or started to cry he would experience a coughing spell. He spent nine days in the hospital, causing Chauntell and her husband to “split shifts” to be with Geoffrey at the hospital and at home taking care of their two older sons, aged 12 and 10 at the time.
Upon returning home, Geoffrey continued his recovery; he still coughed for another two months, but it was not as severe as when he was in the hospital.
The Veit family realizes how lucky they were. Geoffrey was quickly diagnosed, received proper care and survived whooping cough. He has made a full recovery with no lasting effects from the disease. Geoffrey’s illness could not have been prevented because he was too young to receive his first dose of whooping cough vaccine. But he has since been vaccinated according to the recommended schedule.
When Geoffrey was born there was very little that Chauntell could do to protect him from whooping cough. But now there is a whooping cough booster vaccine for adolescents and adults. It bolsters protection and prevents the spread of whooping cough to infants. Chauntell urges moms to vaccinate their babies according to the recommended childhood schedule, and hopes that anyone who will be around an infant gets the whooping cough booster vaccine for themselves.
Diphtheria is a highly infectious bacterium with symptoms similar to that of a common cold. In some cases, the infection can produce a membrane that covers the throat and can hinder swallowing. The diphtheria toxin can also damage the heart muscles and cause heart failure or paralyze the breathing muscles. The membrane that forms over the tonsils can also move deeper into the throat and block the airway.
Hib is the commonly used term to describe the serious infection caused by the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae type b. Before the vaccine, Hib disease was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis (infection of the membranes covering the brain, which can lead to brain damage, blindness and deafness) among children under five years of age in the U.S. More than half of children who developed severe Hib disease were less than 12 months of age. Hib disease can also cause infection and swelling in the throat, which can cause life-threatening blockage of the airway, joint, bone and skin infections and pneumonia.
Hepatitis A is an infectious virus that can damage the liver. Symptoms of infection range from fatigue, abdominal pain and loss of appetite, to nausea, fever and jaundice. Hepatitis A is usually transmitted through the fecal-oral route when contaminated stool gets into food or water and is ingested by an uninfected person.
Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The infection is spread when the blood of an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and joint pain, but when hepatitis B is contracted by newborns, it can cause lifelong infection. Hepatitis B infection can cause scarring of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure and death.
Influenza, also called “the flu,” is an infectious virus that is spread from person to person, primarily when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. Symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, dry cough, headache, runny or stuffy nose and sore throat. The disease can be mild or severe and can lead to death.
Measles, mumps, rubella and varicella are all infectious viral diseases that can be spread in a variety of ways. Measles typically produces a fever, flu-like symptoms, red eyes (conjunctivitis) and sometimes a rash that covers the entire body. Though rare, mumps can cause inflammation of the brain or other parts of the body and orchitis, a severe swelling of the testes. Rubella causes a rash, and infection of a pregnant woman may lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or serious birth defects. Varicella, commonly known as “chickenpox,” produces a skin rash of blister-like lesions that typically appear on the face, scalp or body. Babies born within a few days of their mother’s chickenpox infection have a risk of severe chickenpox infection. Babies born to women who had chickenpox in the first or early second trimester of pregnancy may develop congenital varicella syndrome, which can cause birth defects such as eye problems or an underdeveloped limb.
Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly infectious bacterium that can cause severe coughing. Pertussis is most dangerous to infants less than 1 year old who may develop pneumonia, convulsions, and rarely, brain damage or death. Named for the signature “whoop” that sometimes accompanies the cough, pertussis has been called “the 100-day cough.” Whooping cough can cause difficulty breathing, pneumonia, vomiting and hospitalization. Reports of pertussis continue to rise in the U.S.; increasing from a record low of 1,010 in 1976 to more than 25,000 in 2005. For more information visit: http://www.pkids.org/diseases/pertussis.html.
Pneumococcal disease are infections caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus. The most common types of infections caused by this bacteria include middle ear infections, pneumonia, blood stream infections (bacteremia), sinus infections and meningitis. Children under two, children in group child care and children who have certain illnesses (for example sickle cell disease, HIV infection, chronic heart or lung conditions) are at higher risk than other children to get pneumococcal disease.
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a potentially devastating disease that can damage the nervous system and cause paralysis. Polio is transmitted through the fecal-oral route, spreading from contaminated stool to others through, primarily, affected drinking water. Certain types of polio can lead to death. It is eradicated in some parts of the world, but is only a plane ride away from the United States.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in infants and young children worldwide, and is a major cause of childhood deaths. It is especially dangerous for children less than two years of age.
Tetanus is a disease of the nervous system and it can be deadly. Often described as “lockjaw” because of the common symptom of stiffness in the neck and abdomen and difficulty swallowing, tetanus is caused by a bacterium found in soil, dust and manure. It can lead to fever, severe muscle spasms, elevated blood pressure and death in about 11 percent of cases.
Important disclaimer: The information on pkids.org is for educational purposes only and should not be considered to be medical advice. It is not meant to replace the advice of the physician who cares for your child. All medical advice and information should be considered to be incomplete without a physical exam, which is not possible without a visit to your doctor.
disease from spreading.
doctor to see if you could benefit.