Immunization procedures develop the body’s resistance to specific infections. This is achieved by either giving a live, but modified, infectious agent to induce a very mild infection (polio, measles and BCG immunization) or by injecting killed microorganisms or their products (diptheria, pertussis, tetanus).
The bottom table opposite lists the incubation and quarantine periods of common infectious diseases. Some can be prevented by prior immunization. The commonly recommended immunizations of childhood are given in the top table opposite. All healthy children should be fully immunized to prevent them developing these preventable and potentially serious conditions. If your child has any other disease you should discuss with your doctor whether immunization is appropriate.
If you are going abroad, especially to tropical or sub-tropical regions, you and your child run the risk of catching dangerous infections and diseases. You should consult your doctor to find out which vaccinations you need (see table below).
Anti-malaria tablets are available and must be taken if you are visiting Africa (particularly Central Africa), areas of Central and South America, South-East Asia and parts of the Middle East. Ask your doctor for details. Take the tablets before, during and for a month after your visit (even if you are only stopping over in one of these countries).
It is a serious hazard all over the world, including parts of Europe. You can contract rabies if bitten, scratched or even licked by an infected animal (dog, cat, fox). Be extremely careful, particularly where children are concerned. If they are bitten or scratched get medical attention immediately.
It has been accepted by the World Health Organization that the disease has been eradicated, but vaccination may still be required for travellers to some countries. discuss with your doctor for further details.
Observe the following precautions when travelling abroad:
1. Wash your own, and your child’s, hands thoroughly before eating.
2. Make sure that drinking water is safe.
3. Be cautious about eating raw vegetables, unpeeled fruit, ice-cream, ice cubes, raw shellfish, underdone meat and fish, and reheated food.