Vaccines have all but eliminated some of the diseases that previously caused death in children. They work by introducing a weakened or deadened version of the disease into the body, which your child can then produce antibodies against. You may worry, though, that introducing these diseases could cause serious health repercussions for your child. In most cases, your child will be fine, but it’s important to know what to look for.
Common Side Effects
The most common side effect from vaccines is soreness or tenderness around the area where the doctor gave the shot. You may also notice a slightly elevated fever, sleepiness or general crankiness. In a few cases, your child may get a rash or hives. Most of these symptoms will disappear after a day or two.
Severe Side Effects
Though uncommon, vaccines can cause an allergic reaction in your child. This may include high fever (more than 101 degrees F), seizures and difficulty breathing.
What to Do
If your child experiences any of the more mild side effects, you can treat them at home. A dose of pain-relieving medication, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can bring down the fever and ease pain. A warm wash cloth placed on the area where she received the shot may also make her feel better. Extra cuddles may be in order, as well. However, if your child experiences any of the more severe side effects — especially seizures or difficulty breathing — you should call your doctor immediately.
Myths About Vaccines and Side Effects
Some people believe that there is a link between vaccination and autism or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point to several studies that debunk these myths, however.
In most cases, the benefits of receiving immunity from these life-threatening diseases far outweigh the risks associated with taking them. However, if your child has had an allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past, it’s important to discuss this with your doctor, as it may not be wise to give him the vaccine again.