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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Vaccinations are an important way you can help your child avoid illnesses throughout life, many of which were unavoidable only a few years ago. Even diseases that used to be common in childhood-- such as polio, measles, and mumps--now have been practically eliminated, thanks to vaccines. You should make yourself aware of which vaccinations are required at which stage of a child's life. Most schools require a child to have certain vaccinations before being enrolled. The 'D-TaP' shot, which is given at ages two-, four-, and six-months old, protects against diphtheria (dif-THEER-ee-uh), tetanus, and pertussis (per-TUSS-sis), also known as 'whooping cough.' A second round of D-TaP is given between 15 and 18 months, and again between ages 14 and 16 years. At age two months, there's a vaccine known as 'Hib' (HIBB) that's given for hemophilius (he-mo-FIL-lee-us) influenza infections. After his or her first birthday, your child should have an 'M-M-R' inoculation for measles, mumps, and rubella, the technical name for German measles. Other childhood vaccinations include those for polio and chicken pox. Keep in mind that there may be reactions to each of these vaccines, so be alert for symptoms afterward. To find out which vaccinations your child needs and when, contact a healthcare professional.

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