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Vaccines/Immunizations > Care After Immunizations

Care After Immunizations

Immunizations are very important to keep children healthy. Please review the Vaccine Information Sheets for possible side effects that your child might have. This information tells you what to do for minor side effects.

Fever

Most children will run only a low grade fever after immunizations and do not need any specific treatment. There is evidence that giving fever reducers might decrease the immunity your child will build after a vaccine. If your child has pain, fussiness or a temperature above 101.5ºF (38.6ºC), you may give him acetaminophen or ibuprofen (if over 6 months of age). Be sure to follow the directions on the package for the amount to give your child based on age and weight. Our Medications page also has dosing information.
 
  • Encourage your child to drink fluids.
  • Dress your child in lightweight comfortable clothes.
  • Give your child a bath in room temperature water, if he still has a fever.

Swollen, hot, red arm or leg

You may notice some soreness and swelling at the injection site.It may feel like a knot at the spot where the shot was given. Things you can do to decrease the soreness:
 
  • Place a cool, clean washcloth over the sore area.
  • Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen (if over 6 months) for pain.
  • Do not rub the area as this may increase the pain or swelling.
  • Encourage movement of the arm or leg that is sore.

Fussiness

Be sure to give your child extra hugs and comfort today. You may want to give pain relievers (acetaminophen or ibuprofen if over 6 months) for discomfort. Encourage your child to drink and eat as usual.

Rash

After the MMR and Chickenpox (Varicella) vaccines, your child may break out in a rash 10-20 days after the immunization.

The MMR rash is not contagious, and it doesn't hurt or itch. It will go away on its own. The chickenpox rash can be very contagious in very few cases. Try to keep your child away from anyone with a compromised immune system (such as cancer, HIV or on Corticosteroids or other medicines that affect the immune system). If the spots are where the shot was given, place a Band-Aid over them. This will help prevent spread of the chickenpox.

Your child should be seen by a physician again if he/she:
 
  • has a temperature of 105ºF (40.5ºC) or higher,
  • is pale, limp or hard to awake,
  • cries for more than 3 hours straight,
  • has a strange cry (high pitched),
  • has a seizure (body shakes, twitch or jerks).

Call during office hours if you have questions or concerns about your child's immunizations.

This page was adapted from the Children's Mercy Hospital Care cards.

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