Posts for: January, 2021
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
January 22, 2021
Tags: Tetanus Shot
All children need to get a tetanus shot. When we think of tetanus we often think of rusty nails; however, this bacterium isn’t just found on rusty metal items, it also lives in soil and dirt. If bacteria come in contact with a wound or opening in the skin this can lead to a serious infection. If your child, like many, enjoys running around outside barefoot, they must be keeping up with their tetanus shots.
When should my child get their first tetanus shot?
While tetanus can cause some serious symptoms including “lockjaw," it is completely preventable with a vaccination. The DTaP vaccine is used to prevent tetanus (along with diphtheria and pertussis) and your child will get their first series of shots at 2, 4, and 6 months. Your child will also need another tetanus shot between the ages of 15 to 18 months old and between 4-6 years old.
Children should continue to get a tetanus shot during their annual pediatric checkup until they turn 18 years old. Instead of getting the DTap vaccine, which they got as a young child, they will get the Tdap booster shot that still protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
Once your child reaches adulthood, they will get a Td vaccination, which will protect them against tetanus and diphtheria.
What are the signs and symptoms of tetanus?
Most children will develop symptoms within two weeks of exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms of tetanus include,
- Painful and severe muscle spasms
- Shoulder, jaw, and neck stiffness
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
- Rapid heart rate
If left untreated, tetanus can be life-threatening so it’s important to bring your child in right away if they develop any of these symptoms.
If it’s time for your child’s next tetanus shot, your pediatrician will be able to administer the vaccine either during their next routine checkup or at a separate important. You must be keeping up with your child’s vaccine schedule so that they are fully protected against potentially dangerous communicable diseases.
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
January 08, 2021
Whether you’re simply taking a weekend trip to visit the grandparents, or you and the family are flying internationally, you must know how to keep everyone healthy and safe while on vacation. After all, the last thing you want to worry about is looking up local hospitals near your hotel in the middle of the night. Here are some tips for how to keep your little ones safe while traveling.
Bring all Medications with You…
And make sure you have enough. This is especially important if you are going to spend a couple of weeks on vacation. You will want to make sure that your child has access to their medications and that they don’t run out. If you’re flying, make sure to pack all medications in your carry-on, just in case the airline happens to lose your luggage.
Get the Appropriate Vaccinations
While travel throughout the US won’t typically require your child to get inoculated, traveling abroad may require certain vaccines ahead of time. You must schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician about a month in advance to make sure that they get all appropriate vaccinations before travel.
Depending on where you’re traveling, your pediatrician may recommend certain immunizations against typhoid, yellow fever, meningitis, or rabies. Your child may also require antimalarial drugs to protect against malaria.
Get Travel Insurance
While we never want to imagine a medical emergency happening while abroad, it is important to be prepared just in case your child breaks their arm or gets sick. In this case, having travel insurance can be a major stress-reliever and lifesaver. Most travel insurance covers kids under 17 years of age and also provides emergency care and 24/7 assistance.
Traveling During COVID-19
Of course, during the pandemic, medical officials highly recommend avoiding any travel unless essential. While we understand everyone’s desire to travel again and for life to return to normal, we must be doing our part to keep everyone safe during this time. If you do need to travel make sure to wear a mask, practice good hygiene and social distancing, and choose outdoor places such as parks where you can avoid crowds and other people.
If you do have questions about traveling with your child, or about getting them the proper vaccines before travel, talk with your child’s pediatrician. It’s important to talk with a pediatrician a month or more before your trip so that you can ensure that your child has everything they need before traveling.