The common childhood diseases are not all harmless and often very unpleasant, but also dangerous for your child. Bad symptoms such as high fever, vomiting, nausea, rash, meningitis and much more must be endured by your child if you are not vaccinated against the corresponding virus. To protect your child from typical childhood diseases and save yourself some worry and anxiety, you can prevent them with vaccinations for children and babies.
We have listed the most important illnesses for you and have gathered pro’s and con’s for the respective vaccinations.
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Even vaccine-critical doctors recommend this vaccination, because tetanus bacteria enter the body through dirty, deep wounds. At the latest when your child starts walking, minor abrasions can no longer be avoided. You should start vaccinating against tetanus as early as 3 months of age. This should then be repeated after 2 months. After the 12th and 15th month a further vaccination is planned. After five years this is then refreshed again.
Diphtheria causes a deadly throat infection. It is rarely found in Germany, although it has recently become more common again in Eastern European countries. The STIKO recommends that the diphtheria vaccination be carried out together with the tetanus vaccination in the 3rd month of life. After 4-6 weeks the second vaccination is given and after another 6-12 months the third vaccination follows. The vaccination protection then lasts for about five years. Complications occur very rarely during vaccination. However, you can have the vaccination done at a later time if you do not want to vaccinate your child so early. However, ask your pediatrician first, because at some times there are often epidemics from Eastern Europe. Early vaccination can be very useful then.
Hib (Haemophilus Influenza)
The type B bacteria are pus-bearing pathogens that can cause meningitis and epiglottitis in children. Children under 18 months of age are most at risk. For this reason, the STIKO advises that these be given as early as possible and as part of a six-way vaccination (with pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B and polio) in the 3rd month of life. Unfortunately, single vaccinations are no longer feasible since spring 2005.
Whooping cough is manifested by short, severe coughing attacks that usually occur at night. For children, this disease is always unpleasant, but it is really dangerous only for infants up to six months. According to STIKO, the first vaccination is recommended in the 3rd month of the child’s life. To be really immune, the follow-up vaccination in the fourth and fifth month of life must still be waited. By then, the baby is almost 6 months old and pertussis is hardly dangerous. Parents must consider whether they want to spare their child this unpleasant disease and assess how great the risk of infection is.
Polio (Infantile Paralysis)
Polio is almost non-existent in Europe. An oral vaccination is no longer the rule in Germany – nowadays a dead vaccination is carried out, which is supposed to prevent the resurgence of the disease. This should also be carried out as part of the six vaccination. Here there are also single vaccinations or triple vaccinations in combination with tetanus and diphtheria, which can also be done at one year of age.
Hepatitis B is a form of jaundice, transmissible through body fluids, but only if the virus gets into a bleeding wound. Although it may not appear until the age of a young adult, this vaccination is given as early as the third month of life. However, vaccination critics emphasize that it is unlikely that infants will be infected and that they would be unnecessarily burdened by the vaccine. According to recommendations, children should not be vaccinated until shortly before they reach puberty. Newborns whose mothers have hepatitis B are the exception here. If this is the case, children must be actively and passively immunized immediately after birth.
Measles can sometimes lead to brain inflammation. However, this leads to permanent damage only in every third case. Measles can take a more severe course from the age of ten and it is recommended that a combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccination be given in the completed 11th and 14th month of life. The vaccination must then be bolstered 2 months later. Children up to the age of ten usually tolerate measles disease well, provided there are no other risks. Parents should check with their pediatrician whether early vaccination is appropriate. If parents decide not to have your child vaccinated, then you should reconsider between ages 9 and 12.
Because rubella disease can often cause embryo malformations in pregnant women, every girl should be vaccinated against the virus in anticipation of future pregnancy. It is recommended that this be done in combination with measles-mumps vaccination. Also, because of the goal of eradicating the disease, while rubella disease is not a danger to children. Some parents decide to have their child go through the disease because immunity is provided afterwards and its duration makes it more effective than vaccination. For unvaccinated girls, a blood test for rubella antibodies should be done at age 12. If antibodies are missing or too few, vaccination can then be given in consultation with the doctor.
In this febrile viral disease, testicular inflammation can occur in boys after the pupal stage and lead to infertility. Against mumps is recommended to carry out a combined vaccination with rubella and measles – already in the 12th month of life. As with rubella, however, one can wait until the age of 12 to have the vaccination and have a blood test done. If mumps has not been experienced by then, doctors advise vaccination.