I have to take medication
4. Prevent, relieve, cure – Instructor

Medications can play three different roles :

  • To prevent a disease
  • To relieve the pain
  • To cure a disease


Preventive medications such as vaccines or serums are used to avoid developping a disease. They allow the human body to produce specific defenses (antibodies) that will then protect oneself against the disease.

Dispensed systematically to a large number of people these preventive medications reduce the risk of contagion and epidemics. Thanks to them certain diseases such as smallpox have been totally eradicated from the face of the earth.

According to the World Health Organisation’s figures, mortality due to measles has decreased by 46 % in the last 4 years.

Nowadays certain vaccines or serums are given all over the world :

It is the case for vaccines against measles, polio, diphteria, tetanus, pertussis and tuberculosis.

You can sometimes get several vaccines in a single injection as for diphteria, tetanus and pertussis. In other cases it is necessary to have several injections.   

Other vaccines are only prescribed in regions where the risk of catching certain diseases is greater :

  • The anti-amaril vaccine against yellow fever is given in one injection as from the age of 9 months. It has to be renewed every 10 years.
  • The anti-cholera vaccine is given orally as a single dose.
  • For the anti-typhoid fever vaccine you need one intramuscular injection and a secondary vaccination 3 years later.
  • Fortunately there is now a single injection combining vaccines against Group A and C meningitis which protects children over 2 years old during approximately 3 years.
  • But also : a vaccine against rubella especially recommended for women of childbearing age, and more recently the vaccine against hepatitis B.

It is crucial to be aware of the risks associated to the area you live in or travel to, and to be kept well informed of the available prevention programmes.


There are also other sorts of preventer medications in addition to vaccines and serums :

Anti-allergic treatments are given to people with eye, skin or repiratory allergies to prevent any future allergy.

Vitamins and mineral salts have a major preventive impact on our health in particular for babies, young children and pregnant women. For example :

  • A lack in vitamine A can cause major vision problems and lead to blindness.
  • Vitamine D and calcium to prevent bone disorders.
  • Vitamine C to avoid scurvy (a disease which causes a great tiredness, gum bleeding, receeding gums ...)
  • Iron to cure severe fatigue states and avoid anemia, a serious blood disorder affecting mainly women and children.


Fever, headaches, stomach pain, muscle or joint discomfort ... : some diseases come with painful symptoms or cause discomfort. These medications are generally taken orally (capsules, tablets, syrups ...).


It is the major role of medications. Antibiotics for example fight against the germs causing an infection.

As an example antibiotics can be prescribed to cure bacterial diarrhea (this type of diarrhea is caught by drinking contaminated water or food).



Invite the children to use their booklet to write down all the medications they have already taken, and if they can, the particular role of each of them (prevent, relieve or cure).

This activity will allow a written record to be kept and will enable the medical staff to know the child’s health record during a visit.

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