Prevention is a focus in healthcare now and immunization has been one of the most effective ways to prevent disease ever developed.
The list of diseases that are “vaccine preventable” is long and continues to grow.
Go here for the latest recommendations and guidelines on immunization from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
Vaccine recommendations may be based on a person’s
- ethnicity and
- concurrent conditions, especially diabetes mellitus, chronic lung diseases, heart disease and immune suppressing disorders.
Vaccine administration may vary by
- the number of doses recommended,
- how far apart the doses should be given, and
- which vaccines can be administered at the same time.
Immunization protocols have become so complex that even physicians have difficulty keeping it straight without the use of paper or digital checklists. This is one area where the Internet and EMRs (electronic medical records) can be useful.
Find out what vaccines your child needs for protection against common infections.
Vaccines for infections caused by bacteria
I use the name of the disease and/or the bacteria, rather than the vaccine name, since there are different brand names for the vaccines depending on the manufacturer.
So successful have these vaccines been that most young doctors have never seen a patient with these diseases (unless perhaps they specialize in infectious disease, immunology, emergency medicine or critical care). And even I, who graduated medical school in 1978, have only seen a few, and none in recent years.
Diphtheria-primarily a respiratory tract illness in young persons
Pertussis, better know as whooping cough, also a respiratory illness, which has made a comeback in recent years, apparently due to a waning of immunity
Tetanus, also called “lockjaw”– due to a toxin which may contaminate a dirty wound
Menigococcal disease, which is one of many causes of meningitis (inflammation of the brain lining), but one of the most deadly, even with treatment
Streptococcal pneumoniae disease; the vaccine is often referred to as the “pneumonia vaccine”, but the bacteria can also cause ear infections, sinusitis, meningitis and sepsis (bloodstream infection)
Haemophilus disease is similar to pneumococcal, but more of a concern in infants and children
Preventing viral infections
Virus vs Bacteria One major difference between bacterial and viral infections is the treatment. We have many more effective antibiotics (drugs which fight bacteria) than we do antiviral drugs. And antibiotics do not affect viruses. Despite that fact, patients often expect and even demand their physicians prescribe antibiotics for viral infections such as influenza, colds…
exploring the HEART of infection control