Preventable Childhood Diseases
As fathers, we do our best to protect our children from foreseeable harm and teach them how to deal with unforeseeable harms they may encounter in life. Many childhood diseases are things we can save our children from by being informed and making sure our children are immunized properly.
There are many diseases you can prevent your child from getting such as: chicken pox, measles, mumps, whooping cough (pertussis), rubella, tetanus, tuberculosis and Hepatitis A and B to name a few. Many of these diseases are deadly to children. Even though we do not see a lot of these diseases anymore in the United States (due to widespread immunization) these diseases do still exist and can pose a threat to children who are not properly immunized against them.
While some parents have religious or philosophical reasons for not having their children immunized against disease, it is important to be aware that children who do not receive vaccinations are at risk for developing these childhood diseases. Disease can be spread very easily among children as many of these dangerous diseases are spread through the air your child breathes.
Sometimes, parents think they can shield their child from these diseases when they hear of an outbreak by simply keeping their child home from school or away from infected persons. Oftentimes, this is too late. Many diseases are contagious before any symptoms are present. In other words, your child may be playing with an infected child who appears to be perfectly healthy. This seemingly healthy child can spread disease to your child before anyone is aware that there is a disease.
Many childhood diseases are viruses, such as chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella. That means antibiotics are not an effective treatment. In fact, there is no treatment. The disease must run its course while you try to keep your child as comfortable as possible. Other diseases, such as whooping cough, tuberculosis and tetanus are bacterial infections. Even though there are medications (antibiotics) that can be provided for these diseases, there is no cure for these diseases. Often times, the antibiotics just keep the disease from spreading and your child will have to let the disease run its course. In the process of running its course, the disease may leave your child disabled or may even prove to be life-threatening.
Immunizations are an effective way to protect your child from disease (see Immunizations (Vaccinations). It is important to be aware that immunizations should be given on a schedule and some vaccines lose their effectiveness over time; therefore, your child will need a booster shot to ensure that they are protected. It is a good idea to talk about your immunization concerns with your child’s pediatrician (see How to Choose a Pediatrician). You should also receive a schedule of when your child should be vaccinated and what vaccine they will need at certain ages. A general chart can be found at http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/medical/immunization_chart.html, but you should still discuss the timetable for your child’s immunizations with your child’s pediatrician.