Childhood Immunizations

Childhood immunizations are a series of vaccinations given to children. These shots protect them against certain diseases. If children do not get their shots, they could get very sick and even die.

Many people think children do not need vaccinations until they are ready to start school. This is not true. Shots should begin at birth and continue through age 16. Children need all of these shots to stay healthy.

  • Hepatitis B (Hep B) in early childhood can cause serious illness, liver disease and a rare form of cancer.

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP) shots protect against more than one disease.

    • Diphtheria causes sore throat, fever and chills. It can also cause heart failure or paralysis if it is not treated.

    • Tetanus is also called lockjaw. Bacteria enter the body through a cut or puncture wound. They produce a poison. The poison causes muscle spasms in the jaw, neck, arms, legs and abdomen.

    • Pertussis is also called whooping cough. It spreads very easily. Coughing becomes so severe that it is hard to breathe. Pneumonia and convulsions often develop.

  • H. influenza type b (Hib) causes pneumonia. It infects the blood, joints, bones, and heart. Meningitis may develop and permanent brain damage may result.

  • Polio (OPV/oral polio vaccine) can paralyze and kill. Mild cases cause fever, sore throat, nausea, headaches, and stiffness in the neck, back and legs.

  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) shots also protect against more than one disease.

    • Measles spread easily from person to person. Measles cause a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. This can last for one or two weeks. Many children have convulsions which leave them deaf and mentally retarded.

    • Mumps can cause fever, headache and swelling of the throat and cheeks. Meningitis and permanent hearing loss often result.

    • Rubella is also called german measles. A slight fever and a rash on the face and neck may last for two or three days.

  • Varicella Zoster Virus Vaccine (Var) shots protect against chickenpox, a generally mild disease. However, chickepox can require hospitalization and can kill children.

Make sure your children have their shots on time. Click here for a chart of when children should receive their shots.

For low-cost immunization clinics anywhere in Illinois call 1-800-323-4769 today.

Prepared by Drusilla Banks, Nutrition and Wellness Educator, University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.

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