Childhood Diseases

Childhood Diseases and Vaccinations Image

In developed countries, diseases in children are not as much of a concern today as they once were. Because of advances in the science of childhood vaccinations, many childhood diseases are kept moderately under control. As a parent, you should be aware of what vaccinations can do for your kids, and know when your children should receive vaccines as a means of developing an overall child health strategy.

History of Vaccinations

As far back as the 10th or 11th century in central Asia, current historians note that a small amount of smallpox virus was inhaled through the nose or introduced under the skin as a means of creating resistance to the disease. In 1798, a systemic approach to smallpox vaccination was undertaken by Edward Jenner. Louie Pasteur developed his rabies vaccine in 1885. Other notable vaccines include:

  • The tuberculosis vaccine, developed in 1927
  • The polio vaccine invented by Jonas Salk in 1955
  • The breakthrough of the measles and mumps vaccine in the 1960s.

Childhood Vaccines Today

Because of the development of vaccines, illnesses that used to be commonplace are now considered rare childhood diseases.

Vaccines contain small amounts of the antigens that cause disease, but not enough to cause significant symptoms. These weakened amounts of antigens stimulate antibodies, which help protect children should they become exposed to the disease in the future.

Some childhood diseases that are now preventable, thanks to vaccines, include:

  • Chicken Pox
  • Diphtheria
  • Influenza
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Polio
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping Cough.

Importance of Vaccines

Newborns do get some antibodies from the mother that may make them immune to some diseases, but these antibodies do not protect them from all preventable diseases. In addition, they may only protect the children for a short time. The immune systems of babies and children may not be strong enough to protect them from certain diseases. This is the reason why so many children died from diseases like polio, measles and whooping cough before the development of vaccinations. Vaccinating children also protects the health of those around them who may not be vaccinated.

This topic guide will provide you with information on keeping your children healthy. Each guide will explore a particular disease or vaccination, and will serve as an overview to help answer your questions. You’ll find information on common diseases in children, rare childhood diseases and childhood vaccinations.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Staff. (n.d.). Some common misconcenptions about vaccination and how to respond to them. Retreived December 11, 2009, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/6mishome.htm.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Staff. (n.d.). Vaccine-preventable diseases. Retrieved December 11, 2009, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/child-vpd.htm.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Staff. (n.d.). Why are childhood vaccines so important? Retrieved December 11, 2009, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/howvpd.htm#why.

Family Doctor Staff. (n.d.). Conditions A-Z. Retriever December 11, 2009, from the Family Doctor Web site: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/healthy/vaccines/028.html.

World Health Organization Staff. (2005). Immunization against diseases of public health importance. Retrieved December 11, 2009, from the World Health Organization Web site: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs288/en/index.html.