The Hows and Whys of Baby Vaccines

Will my child have any side effects from the vaccines?

For the most part, vaccines do their job with only minor side effects: typically soreness, redness, or a lump at the injection site, some crankiness, a low-grade fever, or, with the measles and chickenpox vaccines, a mild rash. Some infants will also be a bit sleepier than usual the next day. If your baby has a fever of about 101 degrees F. or seems uncomfortable within the first 24 hours, give him acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It may seem like vaccines are making your baby sick, but these reactions are a good sign that baby's immune system is working; symptoms usually subside within 24 to 48 hours.

However, if your child has a seizure or an allergic reaction such as wheezing, breathing problems, hives, rapid heartbeat, weakness, or dizziness within a few minutes to a few hours after receiving a vaccine, see your doctor immediately and contact the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System at 800-822-7967.

If your child has a history of serious allergies, particularly to eggs, gelatin, or certain antibiotics, such as neomycin, streptomycin, or polymyxin, tell your pediatrician before your child is vaccinated. There may be trace amounts of these elements in certain vaccines.

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