Immunization is the most important method of preventing many
infectious diseases. For
viral diseases, there is no cure, and immunization is the only way
of preventing them. It is through universal immunization that the
deadly viral disease of smallpox has been completely eradicated
all over the world. In the advanced countries, most infectious
diseases are fully controlled by immunization.
The viral diseases for which immunization is commonly
available are the following :
- Hepatitis B
Many bacterial diseases also are prevented by immunization.
These are as follows:
- Whooping cough (pertusis)
You should invariably ensure immunization of your child
against all preventable diseases. Except Typhoid, MMR and
Hepatitis B, all other immunization are available in PHCs and
government hospitals free of cost. Please avail this facility and
ensure the safety and good health of your child.
MMR acts against Mumps, Measles and Rubella, and is
necessary for children. Pregnant women need to be vaccinated against Rubella to
prevent birth defects of children. Hepatitis 'B' is a serious form
of Jaundice which spreads exactly like AIDS.
Immunization against Hepatitis 'B' is important
particularly for children and risk groups.
For most vaccines, it is important to store them at a low
temperature, usually between 2°C - 4°C. From the time of
manufacturing the vaccination, at all stages the vaccine should be
maintained at this low temperature. This is called 'cold chain'.
If this cold chains in not maintained, then the vaccines is
Usually in government hospitals, PHCs and sub-centers, the
vaccine available is carefully preserved and cold chain is
maintained. Therefore it is reliable and safe.
Vaccines available for sale may or may not be preserved at
low temperatures, particularly in summer time. Please ensure that
cold chain is maintained and the vaccine is properly preserved
before buying it and using it for your child.
Please seek your doctor's advice in case of doubt.
There is no vaccine against diseases like AIDS.
The only way of protecting yourself is by prevention.
Rabies is a disease caused by the bite of infected dog, or
wild bats, wolves and other wild animals. The person bitten should
invariably be immunized against Rabies after the bite. If you are
bitten by a stray dog or any unimmunized dog, you must go to the
nearest government hospital and ensure that the full course of
immunization is given to you. Rabies is the only disease for which
immunization is possible after the infection enters the body. If
the immunization is not given, Rabies invariably kills the
patient. Every day about 100 children die of Rabies in India.
Please keep away from stray dogs, and pressurize the municipality
to remove them from the streets.
Immunization is the most inexpensive and safest way of
protecting your child and yourself.
Every year in India about 600,000 persons are affected by
RHD. This disease affects the heart valves and requires expensive
valve replacement surgery and other treatment. Sometimes, even
expensive treatment cannot save the patient.
The best safeguard against RHD is prevention. RHS is caused
as a result of the dt.15Aug lr common 'sore throat' caused by a
type of bacterial called 'streptococci'. If any child gets a sore
throat between the ages of 5 and 15, the child may later develop
RHD. Only years later the heart disease will be known. Please
ensure that the child gets immediate medical attention for every
sore throat and is treated with proper antibiotics without delay.
This will prevent the RHD later.
If the child who had sore throat sometime back now has
fever, and mild joint pains, please get immediate medical
attention. This is called rheumatic fever, and if it is treated at
an early stage, you can still prevent or limit the damage to the
heart. Rheumatic fever 'licks' the joints, but it bites the heart.
Please protect your child in time.
Most of the infectious diseases can be prevented by proper
hygienic measures. Many diseases like Typhoid, Hepatitis 'A'(Jaundice),
Polio, Gastro-enteritis, Cholera and Dysentery are spread through
water. If you drink contaminated water, then the infection enters
the body and causes diseases. All these water-borne diseases are
spread through contamination of water with fecal matter.
You should take the following precautions to ensure that
the water you drink and the food you eat are safe.
- Treatment by chlorine,
filtration, etc is the methods available for water
treatment. Remember that all water you drink must be
protected. It is not enough to protect yourself most of the
- Please make sure that the
children and all those who handle food are careful about
their hygiene. After visiting the toilet, they should
invariably wash their hands, clean with soap.
- Before cooking and eating,
hands and plates should be washed clean with treated water.
- Children and those who handle
food should not have long finger nails. Dust accumulates in
finger nails and carries the infection.
- While handling water glasses,
fingers should never be dipped into them.
- Food should never be served
- It is safe to boil all food
and milk before consuming it.
often suffer from diarrheas (frequent motions) caused by
infections. These infections are a result of eating or drinking
contaminated or untreated food, milk, water etc. Infections
can also spread by unhealthy habits like sucking thumbs, putting
toys in the mouth etc. No matter how much care parents take, it is
difficult to prevent these diarrheas.
biggest problem with diarrheas is not the infection itself, but
the loss of fluid and body salts through motions. As the body
fluids are depleted, sometimes the child goes into dehydration and
if untreated, shock and death may result from it.
such cases, more than antibiotics and other medicines, what is
required is restoring and maintaining the fluid and electrolyte
(salts) balance of the body. The following steps can be taken at
home in mild and moderate cases to ensure the child's safety. If
the problem is severe, you should seek medical help.
- Give as much quantity of
fluids as the child can take orally without vomiting. The
following fluids can be given:
- You can make a home-made
solutions as follows:
tea spoons full of sugar (40 gms)
tea spoon full of salt (5 gms)
lemon squeezed (if possible)
solution can be given to the child to drink as often as possible.
- If diarrhea is prolonged
and there is dehydration, the following solution can be prepared
and given to the child.
- 20 gms
- 3.5 gms
citrate 2.9 gms, or
Dissolved in 1 liter water sodium
chloride - 1.5 gms
solution should be administered in small sips.
- Do not give milk to a
child with diarrhea. Milk is a rich medium for bacteria to grow
and may worsen the problem.
- The salts with glucose are
also available in the market under various trade names. They can
be dissolved in water and administered to the child.
- In severe cases, there
must be immediate medical attention. Please make sure that the
child gets enough water and salts as explained above until medical
help is available.
of the commonest causes of spread of diseases is open defaecation
commonly practised in India. More than 70% people have no proper
sanitary facilities. As a result, faceal matter contaminates dust,
water, food etc, and causes disease.
and safe toilet facilities are necessary for every citizen for the
- Hygiene and health
- Dignity of people
- Aesthetic reasons
modern, clean and safe toilet need not be expensive. There are
simple models available which will cost only about Rs.3000. Night
soil is decomposed by bacteria in nature and all it requires is to
ensure that there is no contamination. Decomposed night soil in a
septic tank is used after a safe period as organic manure. We can
use these natural mechanisms and have low cost latrines for every
there is no serious effort to provide sanitation to every
household. This is because there is not enough public pressure,
and most people do not realize that inexpensive scientific methods
are available for constructing toilets. We should promote
awareness and build a movement for sanitation and for full
coverage of all households by safe toilets.
money required for complete coverage of all households with safe
toilets is only about 20%f of the State's annual budget. Such a
one-time expenditure will solve this huge problem forever. All it
needs is public awareness and political will.
Pradesh is spending about Rs.2,000 crores every year. If only a
total of Rs.3,000 crores is spent over a few years' time, these
problems will be solved forever.
toilets are available they should be properly used as follows:
- If sewers are available, the
toilets should be properly connected to sewers.
- Except toilet paper (when used)
and water, nothing else should be flushed in toilets. Flushing
paper, cotton, sanitary pads, diapers, polythene, cloth etc.
will block the sewers and cause overflows.
- Proper flushing with water and
regular cleaning of toilet pans is necessary.
- Where toilets are connected to
septic tanks, you should never use antiseptics like dettol to
clean toilets. Decomposition of night soil requires bacterial
action, and use of antiseptics kills bacteria. However, soap
powder can be used.
matters of health, there are many common superstitious beliefs
which are both
untrue and harmful. Proper and scientific information
should be spread about them. Please remember the following tips.
- Eating pulses (dhals or grams)
does not lead to pus formation as is commonly believed. In
fact eating pulses is necessary for fighting diseases and
healing, since they contain proteins which are important for
- You should not starve a person
suffering from fever. Except in cases like Typhoid and
Jaundice, you should always ensure good protein and cereal
food during disease and fever. This gives enough energy and
nutrition to fight the disease.
- All natural and cooked foods can
be eaten, and there is no need to restrict your diet to
certain vegetables at any time.
- You should always wash a wound
with soap and clean water. If necessary, you may apply
tincture of iodine. Never put dust or mud or cow dung on a
wound. It will cause infections including tetanus.
- You can, and should, pore cold
water on a burn immediately to reduce the damage. Do not apply
butter or oil on burns as advised by some old-fashioned
- Do not use antibiotics casually
without medical advice. Improper or unnecessary or inadequate
use of antibiotics can cause the following dangers:
In case of sensitivity, there can be severe and dangerous
Unnecessary use causes needless expense and destroys the useful
intestinal flora and weakens the body
Improper or inadequate use leads to development of resistant
strains of germs, and damages the patient as well as society. Many
diseases that were earlier cured by simple antibiotics have now
become deadly because of resistance.
- You should not use the old
fashioned purgatives for children or adults. In the olden
days, children, were often subjected to a monthly dose
of castor oil. Such parties are wholly unnecessary and are
often dangerous since violent bowel movements induced by such
purgatives may lead to serious diseases.
Type of Vaccine
Zero polio drops, BCG
Hepatitis 'B' - 3 doses (0,
DPT, OPV (Booster
Typhoid 2 doses - one month interval
Every 5 years after initial
TT 1st : at Registration
2nd : 2 months later
Schedule for Unimmunized Children
more than 5 years
1 year late
Typhoid 2 doses