Kids living in the United States today don't have to worry about the same diseases that their parents and great grandparents had to deal with. Some diseases, like polio, have been eradicated in the United States thanks to vaccination programs. Even though polio isn't present in the United States anymore, it's still important to get your child vaccinated for the disease. Here are four things parents need to know about the polio vaccine.
What is polio?
Polio is a viral disease. It's very infectious, and it mostly affects kids five years and younger. The virus is transmitted through feces, and when this feces contaminates water or food, many people can get sick. Once the virus enters the body, it multiples inside the small intestine, and from there, it can spread to the nervous system. About one out of every 200 infections causes permanent paralysis, and when this paralysis spreads to the lungs, death can be the result.
Why do kids still need this vaccine?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there hasn't been a case of polio in the United States since 1979. However, polio hasn't been eradicated throughout the world, and thanks to air travel, it's fairly easy for polio to make its way back to the United States. Polio is still endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, and until it's eradicated in those countries, kids in the United States are still at risk.
When should kids get vaccinated for polio?
Kids need to get four doses of the polio vaccine to be protected from the virus. The first dose should be given when your child is about two months old, and then the second will be given at about four months old. The third shot can happen anywhere between the ages of six and 18 months. The final dose is a booster shot, and it's given between the ages of four and six. This vaccine schedule is designed to give your child the best protection possible, so don't delay the doses unless there is a pressing medical reason.
How effective is the polio vaccine?
Many studies have been done to prove that the polio vaccine works.. The first field trial in the United States, back in 1954, showed an efficacy rate of between 80% and 90% for paralytic polio. More recent studies, like one done in Canada in 1989, showed efficacy rates of more than 90%.
Polio is a very dangerous disease, but fortunately, your child doesn't have to worry about it like you did. If your child hasn't been vaccinated for polio yet, take them to a doctor like Willow Oak Pediatrics right away to arrange their immunization.Share
17 July 2015
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