The steep learning curve for new parents is filled with a whole new dialect—words like ‘Bugaboo’ and ‘Skiphop’ quickly find their way into our vocabulary. Then there is the language we learn at the pediatricians’ office. Words that aren’t just tough to read and pronounce—they catch our attention because they involve our kids’ health.
We’re referring to words such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella. All these words are seemingly foreign to us because, in our lifetime, we’ve probably never known anyone to suffer from them. Today, we know these words more in relation to vaccine-preventable diseases. Ahem.
One of the vaccine preventable diseases you may not have heard of is pneumococcal disease (that’s one for the new vocabulary list).
Pneumococcal disease (PD) is an infection caused by a type of bacteria (or germ) called Streptococcus pneumoniae. Translation: it can cause pneumonia if it invades the lungs, it can cause meningitis if it invades the bloodstream and/or the tissues and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and it can cause middle ear and sinus infections. Some of these illnesses can be very serious for young children. There’s no way to tell who will get sick from this germ. In Canada, between 800 and 1,000 people get meningitis and blood infections each year. And there are about 400,000 cases of middle ear infections. It’s important to remember that these infections could also be caused by other germs.¹
Some children are at greater risk than others. Children who are under the age of two, have weak immune systems and have chronic diseases are at risk of complications. Young children who attend daycare or who have taken antibiotics within the past three months may also be at risk.²
There are solutions available to parents that can help prevent diseases like PD. It’s easy for you to find out more information. Just ask your doctor whether your child has been vaccinated against PD.
You have the facts and now all you have to do is ask your doctor. Talk to your doctor to determine if your child is up-to-date and has been vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.
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