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Contagious or infectious diseases undermine the child's health considerably, therefore all measures should be taken to protect the child against infections. Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic bacteria or other microorganisms that multiply in the body and have a harmful effect on it. These organisms (germs and viruses) are capable of producing poisonous substances, or toxins, that poison the body. Having penetrated into the body the causative agents of a disease do not necessarily cause the disease; the body itself must be susceptible to this disease. Having had some infectious disease people do not usually get it again, or if they do they have it in a very mild form.

The state when the body resists or overcomes infection is called immunity. Immunity is a most complex phenomenon in which various protective reactions of the body participate. There exist both specific and non-specific factors' of resistance.

A well-planned schedule, proper diet, regular walks in the fresh air and inurement of the body to various environmental factors help to strengthen the body resistance to disease.

Prophylactic (preventive) inoculations are also very important for the prevention of infectious diseases. In the 18th century an English physician Edward Jenner discovered that milkers who were affected with cowpox developed blisters on their fingers and subsequently became immune to human pox — smallpox. In 1796 Jenner publicly inoculated an 8-year-old boy with cowpox, using the fluid from a blister on the finger of a milkmaid. Having been inoculated with cowpox the boy did not contract smallpox because inoculation with cowpox produced immunity to smallpox. Jenner's method Was called vaccination (from vaccinia, the Latin for cowpox).

The introduction into the body of a vaccine became known as preventive inoculation. Inoculation is done either under the skin, on its surface, or through the mouth or nose depending on the specific features of the vaccine. The site of inoculation usually reddens, swells and becomes tender. A slight elevation of temperature is sometimes noted, and some mild general malaise may be felt; however, these symptoms rapidly disappear and the person becomes immune to the disease. Being taken by mouth vaccines usually have no side effects at all.

Preventive inoculations are absolutely harmless and provide complete protection against infectious diseases.

Having been introduced into medical practice the vaccines created immunity against many diseases, including tuberculosis, smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, poliomyelitis, typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, tetanus and typhus.

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