Immunization Side Effects

Immunizations are a major reason that many childhood diseases have been all but eradicated from society. What was once a danger to children is a thing of the past for many diseases. But, immunizations are not altogether pleasant for kids. If your child experiences some discomfort, here are a few ways you can help them through it.

Here is how immunizations work. A weakened or dead form of the disease is cultivated to create a vaccine. The vaccine is administered in one, two or three doses on a set immunization schedule. The body produces antibodies to the invading disease to fight it again in the future.

Immunizations begin at birth. Baby’s immune system is new and hasn’t had the chance to fight anything. This way, it begins to build defenses that were once only fortified by the actual disease.

Vaccinations are given through hypodermic needles, often in the upper thighs or the shoulder. Your baby will cry a little because of the initial pinch (like a bee sting) but after that it’s over.

Sometimes, vaccinations can cause side effects in your child. Some vaccinations, like the flu shot, shouldn’t be given to kids who are allergic to eggs. Health care professionals will ask you about any childhood allergies to ensure that your child gets the right form of the vaccine. Those children usually get the nasal form which is prepared differently than the shot.

More common will be reactions related to the injection site. This is where the needle actually enters the skin. If you notice redness, inflammation (warm to the touch), swelling and baby scratching (itchy reaction), let your pediatrician know. These are not serious reactions and can be treated with over-the-counter medications.

Sometimes there is pain in the muscle after the vaccination. This can lead to crying, complaints of pain, fussiness in baby and fever. These are also common reactions so don’t panic.

When you call your doctor, they will most likely prescribe ibuprofen to combat these symptoms. It alleviates the pain, fever and discomfort. Baby will be fine in a few days. Usually these reactions occur very soon after vaccination. A word of caution: Avoid giving children aspirin for any type of condition involving fever. Aspirin has been linked to a condition called Reye’s syndrome which can have deadly reactions in kids.

Occasionally, children will exhibit more severe reactions to vaccinations. These include: high fever, lethargy, twitches and crying as from severe pain. Contact a doctor immediately as this type of condition warrants attention right away.

Childhood immunizations offer many advantages to your child’s health. Often there is a slight reaction to the process that can be treated easily. If more serious symptoms occur, see your doctor right away for treatment.