Vaccines work by enhancing your newborn’s immune system to recognize dangerous pathogens. They accomplish this by introducing inactive or weakened versions of the pathogen (germs) responsible for the disease. This introduction allows your baby to recognize the pathogen and naturally build better and more potent weapons (antibodies) against it.
Newborn vaccination is a process that builds your child’s immunity through a series of vaccines for several types of pathogens. Vaccines are an essential way to protect your baby from life-threatening diseases.
Why Does My Child Need Several Vaccines?
Vaccines work best at certain ages, with some given over a series of properly spaced doses. Newborn vaccines start at birth through the preschool years.
The most common vaccines are:
12 to 18 months
18 to 24 months
4 to 6 years
Yearly after 6 months
DTaP = Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis
Hib = Haemophilus influenzae type b
MMR = Measles, Mumps, Rubella
Vaccine-preventable diseases are much less common than they used to be, thanks to vaccination. But they have not gone away. Outbreaks of some of these diseases still occur across the United States. When fewer babies get vaccinated, more babies get sick.
Diphtheria (the ‘D’ in DTaP vaccine)
Signs and symptoms include a thick coating in the back of the throat that can make it hard to breathe. Diphtheria can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, and heart failure. About 15,000 people died each year in the U.S. from diphtheria before there was a vaccine.
Tetanus (the ‘T’ in DTaP vaccine; also known as Lockjaw)
Signs and symptoms include painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. Tetanus can lead to stiffness of the jaw that can make it difficult to open the mouth or swallow. Tetanus kills about 1 person out of every 10 who get it.
Pertussis (the ‘P’ in DTaP vaccine, also known as Whooping Cough)
Signs and symptoms include violent coughing spells that can make it hard for a baby to eat, drink, or breathe. These spells can last for several weeks. Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, or death. Pertussis can be very dangerous in infants. Most pertussis deaths are in babies younger than three months of age.
Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
Signs and symptoms can include fever, headache, stiff neck, cough, and shortness of breath. There might not be any signs or symptoms in mild cases.
Hib can lead to meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings); pneumonia; infections of the ears, sinuses, blood, joints, bones, and covering of the heart; brain damage; severe swelling of the throat, making it hard to breathe; and deafness.
Children younger than five years of age are at the greatest risk for Hib disease.
Signs and symptoms include tiredness, diarrhea and vomiting, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), and muscle, joints, and stomach pain. But usually, there are no signs or symptoms at all.
Hepatitis B can lead to liver damage and liver cancer. Some people develop chronic (long-term) hepatitis B infection. These people might not look or feel sick but they can infect others.
Hepatitis B can cause liver damage and cancer in 1 child out of 4 who are chronically infected.
Signs and symptoms can include flu-like illness, or there may be no signs or symptoms at all. Polio can lead to permanent paralysis (can’t move an arm or leg, or sometimes can’t breathe) and death. In the 1950s, polio paralyzed more than 15,000 people every year in the U.S.
Signs and symptoms include fever, chills, cough, and chest pain. In infants, symptoms can also include meningitis, seizures, and sometimes rash.
Pneumococcal disease can lead to meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings), infections of the ears, sinuses, and blood. It can also lead to pneumonia, deafness, and brain damage.
About 1 out of 15 children who get pneumococcal meningitis will die from the infection.
Children usually catch these diseases from other children or adults, who might not even know they are infected. A mother infected with hepatitis B can infect her baby at birth. Tetanus enters the body through a cut or wound; it is not spread from person to person.
Dr. Helton and his team at Highland Family Medicine have served the Murfreesboro, TN, community for years. What sets them apart is their philosophy, led by Dr. Helton: To love patients like family. Your newborn child deserves that love through protection by vaccination.
Getting your newborn vaccinated protects him/her from over 20 deadly diseases. Do not take the risk or assume that your child is protected because others took the vaccine. Give your newborn a healthy, fulfilling life free from these preventable diseases. Set up an appointment with us today.
Highland Family Medicine and its doctors, Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin, have been serving and treating the community of Murfreesboro, TN, and surrounding areas for over two decades.
Collectively, they have treated more than 20,000 patients. Highland Family Medicine specializes in comprehensive health care for people of all ages, treating most ailments and non-emergencies.
Please don’t hesitate to call the Highland Family Medicine doctor’s office. Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin are professionals and ready to serve.