Monday, 18 January 2016

Recommended Immunizations for Children below 2 Years of Age

Parents may find the issue of immunizations for children a very touchy topic, as they have the right to control the environment in which their child grows up. Apart from adding costs to their medical bills, vaccination programs are full of hassles and pain for the infant.

Why are Immunizations for Children Necessary?

However, parents do need to remember that the UAE witnesses one of the highest rates of inward migration from all parts of the world and hence communicable diseases can spread to epidemic proportions quite easily, if left unchecked. Moreover, the damaging effects of an immunizable disease can add costs far beyond what you incur had your child been given the vaccine.

Here, we look briefly at the diseases that the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) vaccination program protects against from birth to the age of 18 months.

Recommended Schedule for Children from Birth to 18 months

  • The first two diseases mentioned in HAAD's recommended schedule are Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B.
a)       According to the WHO, Tuberculosis is a respiratory ailment caused by bacterial infection. It spreads by cough or nose droplets released into the air by the infected person. TB symptoms include coughing with bloody discharge, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweating.

b)       Hepatitis B is a potentially fatal disease affecting the liver. It can cause chronic complications, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. This disease spreads through blood or other bodily fluids of the infected person.

  • At the end of two months, two vaccines are administered that protect against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatities B, Poliomyeletis Haemophilus Influenzae B and Pneumococcal disease.
a)       Diptheria is an infectious bacterial disease affecting the throat and upper air passages causing sore throat, low fever and swollen neck glands. Extreme cases may affect the heart and central nervous system.

b)       Tetanus, a bacterial disease causes muscle spasms, beginning with the jaw. Later it may cause fatal seizures unless clinical support is provided.

c)       Polio is a very infectious viral ailment causing fever, tiredness, headache, vomiting, stiffness and pain and in extreme cases even permanent paralysis. Polio is without a cure and the only treatment is prevention.

d)       Pertussis bacteria affect the respiratory tract and spread through mucous discharge. Symptoms are similar to the common cold but coughing becomes progressively worse. Pneumonia and seizures are often resulting complications.

Immunizations for children for the same diseases are repeated at the end of 4 months, 6 months and 18 months.

  • At the end of the 12th month, vaccines for preventing Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Chickenpox are administered.

Immunizations for children introduce a dead parasite, inducing the body to react with high temperature and/or fever. In such cases, over the counter analgesics, such as Nurofen, can be used to provide quick relief.