Has Your Child Been Diagnosed With Cystic Fibrosis? What Should You Know About Vaccines?

If you've received the sobering diagnosis that your child has cystic fibrosis (CF), a chronic lung disorder that can make him or her susceptible to infections and other complications, you may be wondering about how this changes his or her healthcare. Everything from regular immunizations and well-child checkups to breathing treatments and physical therapies may be added, changed, or called into question, and you can find yourself overwhelmed at the amount of information with which you're being bombarded. What should you know about having your child immunized after a CF diagnosis? Read on to learn more about what immunizations are even more important, as well as some you may want to skip to avoid taxing your child's immune system.

What immunizations should continue after a CF diagnosis?

If your child is diagnosed past age 2 or so, it's likely that he or she has already received most of the recommended infancy and early childhood vaccines -- protecting against hepatitis, tetanus, measles, mumps, and other potentially serious or even fatal illnesses. It's generally recommended that you continue to have your child vaccinated on his or her normal schedule, as the effect of CF on your child's immune system is much less significant than the risk of a major complication if your child contracts any of the lung disorders (like tuberculosis or even the flu) that avoiding vaccines could allow.

For situations in which your child will be traveling overseas, it's also important to get each of the recommended vaccines that protect against illnesses that have long been eradicated (or never existed) in the U.S. but may still pose risks to travelers -- like malaria and typhus. You may not be able to get all the necessary vaccines from your child's primary care physician, instead visiting a travel agency or public health clinic to finish off your child's regimen. Because the risks of contracting these illnesses outweigh the potential side effects of the vaccine in all but the most immuno-compromised cases, it's almost always wise to ensure your child gets all the vaccines a similarly situated child without CF would be receiving.

Are there any immunizations your child should avoid after being diagnosed with CF? 

In some situations, such as when your child is recovering from an organ transplant and taking immunosuppressant drugs, getting a vaccine may need to be delayed until your child's immune system is in good enough shape to respond positively to the vaccine. This may mean keeping your child in sterile or isolated conditions -- or away from any friends or family members that may potentially be ill -- to keep his or her immune system healthy until these drugs can begin to be dialed down and permit your child to again undergo regular flu vaccines.

For more information about vaccines for your child, contact a company like The Pediatric Center.