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Treatments for children’s common reactions to vaccines

Updated: 2020-04-29


As a firewall against epidemics, vaccines effectively prevent and control the occurrence and prevalence of infectious diseases. But while vaccination offers effective protection, parents of children are distressed by the thought of possible adverse reactions. So, what are the common reactions after vaccination and how do you deal with these situations correctly?

1. Common reactions.

(1). Fever (body temperature≥37.5 degrees).

  • Clinical characteristics:

This occurs 8-24 hours after vaccination and usually lasts for one to two days.

A small number of children may develop the symptoms as early as 2 hours after vaccination or within six to 10 days after vaccination. In addition to fever, the symptoms may be accompanied by headache, dizziness and general discomfort, lasting from one to two days.

  • Course of action:

Low fever (body temperature<38.5 degrees): Briefly observe your children and allow them to rest properly. Older children can drink more water. If their body temperature does not drop or is accompanied by systemic symptoms -- such as abnormal crying --medical help should be sought in good time.

Medium to high fever (body temperature≥38.5 degrees): Children can be given antipyretics such as acetaminophen symptomatic treatment. If the body temperature does not drop, or is accompanied by systemic symptoms, medical treatment should be sought in a timely manner.

Children with a history of febrile convulsions: Can be treated with drugs to reduce their temperature when their body temperature reaches 38 degrees, to prevent convulsions.

(2). Other systemic reactions.

  • Clinical features: Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are common on the day of vaccination but rarely last for more than two to three days.

  • Course of action: Briefly observe your kids, ensure their diet is light and more fluid is supplemented. If symptoms do not improve in two to three days, timely medical treatment should be sought.

(3). Local reactions.

  • Clinical features:

Local redness and swelling after the injection is divided into three categories: weak reaction (measuring ≤2.5 centimeters), moderate reaction (2.6-5 cm) and a strong reaction (>5 cm). This is according to the diameter of redness and swelling, which mostly appears from a few hours to 24 hours after injection and can subside in one to two days. It may be accompanied by local lymphadenopathy or pain.

Local connective tissue hyperplasia and induration is observed after injection.

  • Course of action:

Treatment of swelling, heat and pain:

The diameter of the redness and swelling measures≤1.5cm: generally, no treatment is needed;

Diameter of 1.5-3 cm: use 25 percent magnesium sulfate wet compress, two to three times a day, 10-15 minutes at a time;

Diameter>3cm: timely diagnosis and treatment in hospital.

Treatment of local induration:

Take a proper amount of Yunnan Baiyao (a kind of traditional Chinese medicine) and mix it into paste, apply it on the induration, then cover with sterile gauze. Change sterile gauze and Yunnan Baiyao every 12-24 hours to keep the gauze moist.

2. Abnormal reactions.

Adverse drug reactions occurring during or after the implementation of standardized vaccination of qualified vaccines.

Clinical features:

Aseptic abscess, febrile convulsions, allergic reactions (such as anaphylactic shock, allergic rash, allergic purpura, thrombocytopenic purpura, local allergic reactions, angioedema), polyneuritis, lymphadenitis after BCG vaccination, etc.

If these conditions occur, children should be taken to the nearest hospital for treatment immediately.

3. Special reminders.

In order to avoid or reduce the occurrence of common infectious diseases, every child should receive regular vaccination according to China's vaccine administration law. In order to reduce the occurrence of adverse reactions, parents should actively provide the relevant health information of their children, to ensure they receive standard vaccination in a healthy state.

The general reaction caused by vaccination is usually mild. Parents need not panic. Please communicate with the doctor in charge of the vaccination in time and take good home care according to the doctor's instructions. The health of children will not be affected.

The incidence of abnormal reactions following vaccination is extremely low. If this happens, please go to the nearest regular hospital as soon as possible and notify the doctor in charge of vaccinations immediately, to get extensive help and reduce or mitigate the harm to the child.

Children with special health conditions -- such as premature infants, febrile convulsions, epilepsy, immunodeficiency disease, congenital heart disease, etc -- also need regular vaccination, but more adverse reactions may occur. Therefore, parents should particularly be reminded that they must provide detailed diagnosis and treatment of the disease, which is then judged by doctors comprehensively. For example, if the child's underlying disease is in remission or a stable period -- and there is no discomfort at present, with no contraindication to the vaccination -- then the vaccine can be safely administered.