Viral and bacterial diseases can be warded off and prevented from infecting a healthy human host by the scientific procedure known as immunization, also known as vaccination. In this process, an injection of weakened or dead bacteria, and or viruses, or the injection of their deactivated toxins into the body induces an immune response in the body to the foreign substance; this leads to the formation of antibodies in the body.
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Because this initial inoculation with the viral or bacterial foreign substance is done using a very low dose of the pathogen, it does not cause an infection but rather helps in the immunization of the body against that particular pathogen because of the production of antibodies it induces. Thus this immunization is a very powerful medical tool to help in the prevention of infectious diseases.
Children are usually given vaccination during childhood to prevent infection from many types of disorders and disease; the more commonly known ones are those for polio, those for MMR-measles, mumps and rubella. The way vaccination works can be explained in an example: a small amount of the tetanus toxin injected into the body can help his or her immune system produce antibodies to fight this foreign substance as and when or if it enters the body in the future.
Because the child's immune system has already manufactured the necessary antibodies against the bacterium, a child later exposed to the tetanus bacteria will be able to avoid getting infected due the action of these antibodies. Children are typically prescribed the following commonly recommended vaccines during childhood immunization against all kinds of diseases.
One of the most common vaccines used for inoculations during childhood has to the vaccine called as the DPT vaccine, or expanded "the diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus vaccine". This triple vaccine is designed to prevent against the infection from three different diseases that can normally occur in childhood unless this vaccination is available.
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The first one is called diphtheria, diphtheria can potentially be lethal and affects the upper respiratory tract of the infected individual; it is however rare in occurrence- in certain cases even the heart and kidneys can be affected by an infection of diphtheria. The second disease is known as pertussis or by its more common name of the whooping cough.
This can lead eventually degenerate into pneumonia and is potentially very dangerous if it occurs in small children-the other symptoms it can cause in the body include seizures beside other physical complications. The last disease is of course tetanus, this is a potentially deadly infection of the central nervous system by the bacterium clostridium tetani-it is a serious condition because once it infects the body, it causes death unless preventions have been taken beforehand. Instead of using the DPT vaccine, an alternative vaccine called DT-or diphtheria/tetanus, without the pertussis vaccine is sometimes preferred.
This vaccine will not protect against pertussis and is designed specifically for use against the possibility of infection by the diphtheria and tetanus pathogens only.
Other vaccines that are also commonly used in inoculation of children are vaccines like the Hib vaccine or expanded (Hemophilus influenzae -H. flu- meningitis type B vaccine) this vaccine is used for the prevention against an infection of meningitis, this bacterial disease is a potentially fatal brain disease that is also common in childhood and thus vaccination is important. Serious conditions like pneumonia, the onset of gradual and permanent hearing loss, and the possibility of many types of learning disabilities can all result because of H. flu meningitis.
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Multiple injections utilizing many different vaccines can now be avoided by the use of a new combination DPT and Hib vaccine; this reduces the immunization process to the injection of a single dose of this vaccine and removes the hassle of dealing with many vaccines. Hepatitis B is a lethal form of hepatitis, it is now routine to immunize against this disease by the inoculation with the hepatitis B vaccine; this vaccine can be said to the latest vaccine to join the long list of vaccines used for early immunization during childhood.
Hepatitis B causes an infection to set in the liver that can lead to chronic liver disease or even liver cancer, though the disease in itself is not very contagious and is usually transmitted via the use of contaminated blood transfusion packets or contaminated serum. It is now standard for all children a day or two old to be vaccinated against the hepatitis B; this is to prevent the possible onset of this usually lethal disease as early as possible.
Medical professionals have also started to insist that all parents arrange for the vaccination of older children and adolescents who have not yet been administered this vaccine; this is a good preventive measure as hepatitis B is not an age specific disease and kills thousands of adults each year.
A vaccine that protects against another three diseases is also commonly used in early childhood, this is the vaccine know as the MMR vaccine, which protects against three diseases namely measles, mumps and rubella. The first disease is measles, which is a very contagious viral disease; an infection from this virus causes the appearance of fever and a characteristic rash in the body of the affected child.
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The main danger from measles is in its ability to bring about serious complications involving other disease such as pneumonia, many forms of strep infections from chance invaders of the streptococcus bacterial family, and in some cases the development of encephalitis. The second disease that the vaccine protects against is mumps.
The mumps as it is sometimes known is a very contagious childhood viral disease that causes the swelling of the glands in the regions of the neck and the throat and to a rarer extent in the testicular tissues of the individual, these symptoms are accompanied by fever-this disease is not fatal and usually disappears after treatment.
The last disease against which the vaccine protects is the disease known as rubella or the German measles as it is commonly known, rubella is caused by a virus that brings on fever and causes the appearance of a mild rash on the body, and these can cause mild discomfort to the child. However if the infection occurs during the term of pregnancy, it can lead to a miscarriage, to stillbirth, or to the appearance of birth defects in the child, this happens when the virus infects the woman while she is pregnant.
Children are now usually required by medical professionals to receive two vaccinations of the MMR vaccine at two age periods-the first one at fifteen months of age, and the second before entering school or perhaps at the eleven or twelve years of age-this two step vaccination is now carried out because recently and in the past few years, outbreaks of measles have occurred among previously vaccinated college students.
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Another potentially lethal and debilitating disease that often comes during childhood is poliomyelitis, this disease is caused by an acute viral infection from the polio virus-it almost always leads to some paralysis or debilitation if not death for the affected child. The prevention is carried out using the polio vaccine; a complicated set of decisions is involved in vaccination against polio compared to the other vaccinations for different diseases.
There are many forms of immunization against polio, essentially two methods are employed one is an injection of deactivated or dead polio viruses into the body and the other is the simpler use of a live vaccine, usually via the oral route. In the United States of America, the oral form has seen more use and is preferred over the injectible form as it induces better immunity in the child; doctors thus recommend the use of the live oral form of the vaccine over the injection form.
It is a double edged sword in that the types of complications resulting from its use is much more severe than from those that may occur when the injectible form. This live vaccine has been known to cause polio in an estimated six or seven children every year, this depends most of all on the genetic and physiological character of the child.
Children with very dysfunctional immune systems are therefore not prescribed this vaccine for exactly this reason. Even where children show no reactions to the use of the live vaccine, the child may unknowingly infect an adult with the virus through contact if that person is not immunized against the virus. Therefore children immunized this way and who belong to families with unvaccinated members and who include individuals with compromised immune system pose a risk to others in the family.
Such children should only be vaccinated using the injectible and inactivated form of the vaccine. While avoiding accidental infection of an otherwise healthy child, a newer and more potent form of the injectible vaccine now appears to give better protection. Dosage regimen changes are utilized by some doctors to reduce the chances of accidental infection during immunization of children, the first vaccination is carried out using the inactivated injectible form of the vaccine and the oral, live vaccine is used only for the additional or secondary doses subsequently.
If your child has not been affected by rubella or German measles and if they have not been vaccinated with the MMR vaccine yet, then immunization against rubella is recommended using the rubella vaccine. The central nervous system can affected during infections of tetanus ad this can cause death; vaccination using the tetanus toxin vaccine should protect the child against tetanus infections. While it is possible to undertake this vaccination using the tetanus toxin vaccine alone, it is common to give it accompanied by a diphtheria vaccine during a DPT or DT immunization.
Special reasons exist for undergoing a particular immunization for some known disease-including times of illness and when traveling, during such times, conventional vaccinations and other immunizations must be taken. For example, travelers are typically advised to immunize themselves against yellow fever.
It is important to understand that undergoing any form of immunization has its risks and can result in the person adversely reacting to the vaccine. Symptoms such as irritability, malaise, the presence of a low-grade fever, soreness or irritation in the skin at the site of injection are commonly experienced by the person undergoing any vaccination.
All the natural remedies outlined here can be used for the treatment of these uncomfortable symptoms at home. Physical reactions which include allergic reactions, seizures and certain neurological problems, including a persistent "screaming syndrome," lasting for three or more hours are rare but can also occur.
Observe the child for any outward signs or symptoms of an adverse reaction to the vaccine after the child receives a vaccination. Inconsolable screaming, physical or emotional shock, a seizure, or a temperature of more than 102˚F along with fretfulness and irritability after an immunization, signals an adverse reaction in the child-these symptoms require emergency treatment from a doctor. Any of these signs in a child after a vaccination indicates a dangerous reaction to the vaccine being used in the immunization.
The presence of mild irritability, a low grade fever or a localized infection which are typical mild reactions to a vaccine in a baby who has just been immunized can be treated using the Echinacea herb. Immune system functioning is bolstered by these herbs. Dosage for mothers of children who are still breastfeeding their child can be forty drops of the herbal infusion, taken two times each day, for a total treatment of three days starting immediately after the child undergoes any immunization using a vaccine.