Vaccinating your child is one way you protect little ones from a host of potentially harmful, even deadly, diseases. And when you travel during summer, it’s doubly important to make sure your child is up to date on standard immunizations and recommended vaccines specific to your destination.
At First Pediatric Care Center, Dr. Margaret Lubega can guide your decisions on which vaccines your child needs now and before summer travel.
What is a vaccine?
Vaccines defend your child against certain diseases by taking advantage of their body’s natural ability to fight harmful germs and microbes.
Routine immunizations introduce a small amount of dead or weakened microbes into your child’s body via the mouth, nose, or an injection. The vaccine acts as an immunity call-to-arms where the body confronts and clears these harmless microbes, preparing it to fight such invaders quickly during future exposure.
Some vaccines last a lifetime, while others must be repeated periodically.
Vaccines your children should have
Vaccines are available to fight these harmful or deadly diseases:
- Flu (influenza)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Polio (poliomyelitis)
- Rubella (German measles)
- Shingles (herpes zoster)
- Tetanus (lockjaw)
- Whooping cough (pertussis)
Don’t worry: Your child can’t catch a disease from a vaccine made from a dead virus or bacterium. Although rare, vaccines made from a weakened virus, such as the measles or chickenpox vaccines, can cause your child to contract a mild form of the disease, but that’s far less severe than if your child had caught the disease without immunization.
Recommended vaccinations for summer travel
If you’re planning to take the kids on an international trip this summer (lucky kids!), they may need additional vaccines, because certain countries have health risks not common here.
If you’re traveling to, say, Australia, you and your child may need a vaccination against Japanese encephalitis. If you’re going to China, it’s a good idea to get the typhoid vaccination. And if you’re spending time in Africa, Asia, or Central or South America, you should receive the malaria vaccine.
Beware: Some countries require immunization against yellow fever before they let you in, especially if you’re coming from parts of the world like Asia and Africa where yellow fever is prevalent.
Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interactive tool to determine which vaccines are smart or required for each country you’re planning to visit. Then plan on receiving additional travel vaccines at least a few weeks before your trip.
Dr. Lubega can tell you if your child is up to date on immunizations and advise you on which vaccinations your child needs before travel. Schedule an appointment so your family can have a happy, healthy summer vacation.