26 April 2024

Vaccines for children: Your questions answered

What are vaccines?, Vaccines are products that are usually given in childhood to protect against serious, often deadly diseases. By stimulating your body’s natural defenses, they prepare your body to fight the disease faster and more effectively.  , How do vaccines work?, Vaccines help your immune system fight infections more efficiently by sparking your immune response to specific diseases. Then, if the virus or bacteria ever invades your body in the future, your immune system will already know how to fight it.  , Are vaccines safe?, Vaccines are very safe. Your child is far more likely to be hurt by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine.   All vaccines go through rigorous safety testing, including clinical trials, before they are approved for the public. Countries will only register and distribute vaccines that meet rigorous quality and safety standards.  , Why should I vaccinate my child?, Vaccines save lives. Measles vaccines alone are estimated to have prevented over 21 million deaths between 2000 and 2017. Vaccines will help protect your child against diseases that can cause serious harm or death, especially in people with developing immune systems like infants. It’s important to vaccinate your child. If not, highly contagious…, Can my baby handle all of these vaccines?, Yes. Many parents worry that multiple vaccines will overload their child’s immune system. But children are exposed to hundreds of germs every day. In fact, a common cold or sore throat will put a greater burden on your child’s immune system than vaccines.  , But these diseases are not present in my community. Do I still need to vaccinate my child?, Yes. Although the diseases may be eliminated in your country or region, our increasingly interconnected world means that these diseases could spread from areas where they are still present.  , What is herd immunity?, If enough people in your community are immunized against a certain disease, you can reach something called herd immunity. When this happens, diseases can’t spread easily from person to person because most people are immune. This provides a layer of protection against the disease even for those who cannot be vaccinated, such as infants. Herd…, Can a vaccine cause my baby to get sick?, Vaccines are extremely safe and serious side effects are rare. Almost all sickness or discomfort after vaccination is minor and temporary, such as a soreness at the injection site or mild fever. These can often be controlled by taking over-the-counter pain medication as advised by a doctor, or applying a cold cloth to the injection site. If…, What diseases do vaccines prevent?, Vaccines protect your child against serious illnesses like polio, which can cause paralysis; measles, which can cause brain swelling and blindness; and tetanus, which can cause painful muscle contractions and difficulty eating and breathing, especially in newborns. For a list of the most common vaccines and the diseases they prevent, see this list…, Can I delay the vaccine schedule?, One of the best ways you can protect your child is to follow the recommended vaccine schedule in your country. Any time you delay a vaccine, you’re increasing your child’s vulnerability to disease.  , Can I let my child get the chickenpox instead of getting the vaccine?, Although chickenpox is a mild disease that many parents will remember from childhood (the vaccine was introduced in 1995), some children will develop serious cases with complications that can be fatal or cause permanent disabilities. The vaccine eliminates the risk of complications from the disease, and prevents children from infecting their…, What is the recommended vaccine schedule?, Immunization schedules vary by country depending on which diseases are most prevalent. You can find an overview of the recommended vaccines and approximate dates from your local health centre, doctor or your government’s Ministry of Health.   >> Learn more about vaccines
08 April 2024

Heat wave safety tips

Heat waves are anything but fun in the sun. Extreme heat and humidity can be extremely uncomfortable and pose serious health risks, especially for infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly. Without taking the proper precautions, extreme heat can lead to heat stroke and even worse, fatality. As a result of climate change, heat waves are…, Heat wave facts, Heatwave facts: A girl stands under the hot sun What is a heat wave?  Heat waves happen when the temperature is higher than normal for several days in a row. Humidity can cause it to feel much hotter. What causes a heat wave?  Heat waves result from warm air being trapped in the atmosphere and are a natural weather phenomenon. Heat waves are…, What to do in a heat wave, How to prepare for a heatwave: A girl stands next to a fan Be prepared Know how hot and humid it is going to get today, this week and this month to help plan outside activities. Keep an emergency kit at home that contains oral rehydration salt (ORS) packets, a thermometer, water bottles, towels or cloths to wet for cooling, a handheld fan or…, Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, How to recognize symptoms of heatstroke: A girl looks confused as a caregiver supports her Severe symptoms of heat stress require urgent care.  If a family member is presenting any of the severe symptoms below you should call for an ambulance or arrange for another form of transport to a health facility immediately. Trust your instincts and don’t…, Symptoms of heat-related illness, Milder symptoms - treat at home Severe symptoms – take to hospital immediately General Dry lips/sticky mouth Excessive thirst Excessive sweating Weakness /dizziness Nausea/vomiting Small blisters/rashes Heat rashes Mild fever Nosebleeds Cramps, usually in arms and legs Confusion/not responding clearly /seizures/coma/not waking up (MOST SEVERE)…, How to treat heatstroke and heat-related illnesses, How to treat heat related illness: A girl lies on the floor while a caregiver provides water Take the following steps to help your loved one cool, rehydrate and recover:, 1. Cool and rush to health facility if severe, If a family member is experiencing severe symptoms of heat-related illnesses, it is important to cool first and transport second.   Help the person sit or lie down in a cool shaded area with good ventilation. Close curtains to create more shade. Turn on a fan or air conditioner if available. Apply wet towels to the skin at head, neck, armpits and…, 2. Reduce temperature, Move the person into a cool area if not done so already. Close curtains to create more shade. Turn on a fan or air conditioner if available.    Apply wet towels or cool water to the body, particularly at head, neck, armpits and groin. Keep changing the towels or dipping them in cool water every few minutes to provide cool water for the body. If…, 3. Rehydrate, Infants under six months: Breastfeed to rehydrate the infant. Encourage mother to also drink more water, especially if breastfeeding.  Older infants and children: Given your infant or child water in small amounts to help them become used to it.  If the child has sweated a lot or is sweating a lot, add some Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) to the water…, Heatwaves in East Asia and the Pacific, Across East Asia and Pacific, around  243 million children  are exposed to hotter and longer heatwaves, putting them at risk of a multitude of heat-related illnesses, and even death. Heatwaves are made more deadly by high humidity levels that hinder the body's natural cooling mechanisms. It is estimated that between 2000 and 2019, more than 1…