vaccine reactions

what to expect ? what can be done ?



whooping cough (pertussis)

There is a risk of fever and / or pain with the pertussis vaccine. The onset is between 2 and 6 hours after the injection and it does not exceed 24 hours. Current practice is to give a medication within one hour after the shot to prevent or minimize a possible reaction. It  may   be repeated and if necessary combined with a similar drug. Paracetamol  (named acetaminophen in America)   is the drug of choice, ibuprofen is potentially more toxic (stomach irritation) and not advisable before the age of six months.  Usual  dosages of the commonest preparations are approximately  1 ml / kg body weight / day. For most children between 2 and 4 months of age  this is more or less equal to   2 ml of  paracetamol  (as Perdolan,  Dafalgan pédiatrique or Tylenol)  and/or ibuprofen (as Junifen, Advil), by mouth, up to 3 times a day for each medication. If they must be combined it is best to alternate, giving one of the two up to every 4 hours. This is seldom necessary. After  the new acellular pertussis  vaccine was introduced  reactions became  much milder, but  have been a little more frequent again with the routine association of the multivalent  pneumococcus vaccine which can also cause a fever. 


The measles vaccine may cause a fever and/or a rash between the 5th and 12th day. This usually requires no medical attention. Occasionally a medication is  given to reduce an  unusually high fever. An obvious reaction occurs approximately in one vaccination out of six. The mumps and rubella vaccines don't usually cause significant reactions.


Occasionnally  (5 %) the chickenpox vaccine is responsible of a low grade fever  between 4 and 10 days after the shot.. A  few  vesicles may also be observed (usually about 5 and near the injection site) between 5 and 26 days after the vaccine. This is a normal benign reaction to the vaccine, and evidence that it has taken. No treatment is necessary, but should this reaction appear unusually strong, a rare event  that cannot be ruled out, or the result of a coincidential  chickenpox disease not completely  prevented by the vaccine, the rules to be followed with chickenpox apply : no aspirin or ibuprofen in case of fever, local disinfection with Hibitane, Dettol  or Iso-Betadine, showers rather than baths, dry skin by blotting instead of rubbing,  antihistamines by mouth - such as Benylin of Fenistil drops -  against itching.


BCG is a live vaccine which must cause a local reaction after about 3 weeks, ususally a small ulcer which will open and produce a dry cheese-like pus. Cover with dry and clean gauze until complete healing which requires  several weeks. Occasionnally  the local ulcer is so large that it requires cauterization with silver nitrate.  Even less  often, a large satellite lymph node opens in the axilla or  groin, depending on where the vaccine was given. These unusually strong  reactions are mostly observed in babies younger than one year.


The flu shot  seldom causes significant reactions, unlike what  commonly happened ten years ago. Vaccine technology has improved and significant side effects are now rare. A malaise and a low grade fever can occur for a day or two and  will usually respond to paracetamol (acetaminophen).  

















word to html converter html help workshop This Web Page Created with PageBreeze Free Website Builder  chm editor perl editor ide