Childhood Immunizations: What You Need To Know

Childhood Immunizations: What You Need To Know

There’s no denying the numbers: According to the CDC, there are 14 diseases we’ve nearly forgotten thanks to childhood immunizations. Some of the illnesses on the list may surprise you. Depending on your age, there may be one or two you’ve never heard of or you may not have known that a vaccine existed for them!

Protect your family from these potentially deadly illnesses by making sure everyone is up to date on his or her shots. Many of the childhood immunizations below are available at urgent care centers, such as CareNow, with convenient locations across DFW. You can also get your family’s annual physicals and sports physicals at CareNow.

Childhood immunization schedule.

The CDC recommends the following schedule for the contagious diseases listed below. Some of them are voluntary, while others are required by the state of Texas for admission into schools and child-care facilities.

Chickenpox, which hospitalized more than 10,500 people every year prior to the vaccine and can cause shingles later in life

  • Doses: 2 — at 12-15 months and 4-6 years

Diphtheria, which killed 15,000 Americans in 1921, before there was a vaccine

  • Included in the DtaP vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)
  • Doses: 5 — at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years

Flu (influenza), which isn’t going away any time soon but can be minimized or prevented with the flu shot

  • Doses: 1 each year — beginning at 6 months old

Nathan Holbrook, DO, an emergency medicine physician at Medical City Arlington says the No. 1 thing you can do to beat the flu is to get a flu shot every year — the CDC says the shot prevents about 5 million cases of flu annually.

Hepatitis A, a contagious liver disease for which a vaccine was developed in 1995

  • Doses: 2 — at 12-23 months and 6-18 months after the first

Hepatitis B, which kills more than 780,000 people a year and can be passed unknowingly from mom to baby during pregnancy

  • Moms should get vaccinated, too!
  • Doses: 3 — at birth before leaving the hospital, at 1-2 months and 6 months

Hib Haemophilus influenza type b), which before the vaccine infected more than 20,000 kids a year and left 1 in 5 brain damaged or deaf

  • Doses: 4 at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 12-15 months

Measles, which infected nearly everyone in the U.S. and killed hundreds each year before the vaccine; today, most doctors have never seen a patient with measles

  • Doses: 2 — at 12-15 months and 4-6 years

Mumps, which can lead to meningitis, deafness, encephalitis and other lasting health problems

  • Included in the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Doses: 2 — at 12-15 months and 4-6 years

Pneumococcal disease, which causes ear and sinus infections, pneumonia and meningitis

  • Doses: 4 — at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 12-15 months

Medical City Arlington ER physician, Charlie Phillips, MD, tells you how to recognize the symptoms of pneumonia, what causes it and who is most at risk.

Polio, a crippling, potentially deadly infectious disease that was wiped out in the U.S. but still exists in other countries

  • Doses: 4 — at 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months and 4-6 years

Rotavirus, which can lead to dehydration and death in infants and young children

  • Doses: 2-3 (depending on the brand) at 2 months, 4 months (and 6 months if they’re getting the RotaTeq vaccine)

Rubella (German measles), which infected 12.5 million Americans in 1964-65, killing 2,000 babies and causing 11,000 miscarriages

  • Doses: 2 — at 12-25 months and 4-6 years

Tetanus (lockjaw), which can cause breathing problems, muscle spasms, paralysis and death in 1 out of 5 people who gets it

  • Doses: 5 — at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years

Whooping cough (pertussis), which is highly contagious and can be deadly for babies

  • Doses: 5 — at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years

Childhood immunizations for older kids and teens.

The CDC recommends three additional shots for older kids and teenagers.

Tdap, a booster shot that picks up when protection from the DtaP starts to wear off

  • Doses: 1 — at 11-12 years

Meningococcal disease, which causes meningitis and can be passed in saliva through kissing or coughing

  • Doses: 2 — at 11-12 years and 16 years

HPV, which protects against most cancers caused by the human papillomavirus infection

  • Doses: A series of shots given over several months, beginning at 11-12 years

Derrick Nguyen, MD, a medical oncologist at Medical City Arlington, discusses the HPV virus, cervical cancer and the importance of early detection.

How to take some of the sting out of all those shots.

Whew! That busy shot schedule would leave anyone frazzled — parents and kids alike. Be prepared with the CDC’s helpful tips for making childhood immunizations less stressful, including swaddling your baby and ways to help older children cope.

Vaccines are safe.

If you’re still on the fence about the safety of vaccines and whether childhood immunizations are necessary, read this blog from Lily Strong, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at Medical City Children’s Hospital. Dr. Strong addresses the recent increase in mumps, measles and pertussis outbreaks in Texas and the latest research about vaccines and autism.

For fast, emergency help when you need it most, look to one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or call our free 24-hour Ask-A-Nurse hotline.

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