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What should I do if I think my child is having a bad reaction to a vaccine?

In most cases, having vaccinations is perfectly safe. However, in a very small number of cases, people have a bad reaction to a vaccine. In an even smaller number of cases, your child may be allergic to the vaccine.

The first thing you should do is assess your child’s symptoms. Allergic reactions usually include hives or a rash, breathing difficulties or becoming weak, pale or unconscious. This could mean that your child is having an anaphylactic or allergic reaction, that can be life threatening. Seeking immediate medical care is advised.

Another very rare reaction is for your baby or toddler to have a disorder that causes their platelets (cells in the blood) to thin, leaving your child susceptible to bleeding, bruising and bloody stools or urine. This is another case where you should contact your doctor immediately.

A very high fever shortly after a vaccination is another cause for concern, and should your child react this way, it’s best to take him or her to the emergency room.

Common reactions to vaccines that usually aren’t serious are low grade fever, pain, vomiting, redness or fussiness, and most of these can be treated by giving your child ibuprofen or paracetamol.

While it’s true that most children will not have a bad reaction, or any reaction at all, to vaccinations, if you are worried, it’s best to be cautious, and consult your doctor.

More questions

Concern over give infants cold medicine
There are very specific guidelines when it comes to safely administering over the counter medications to babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Fever is often the first sign of an illness in children. When your child has a temperature it can be a worrying and stressful time.
Sore throats and coughs are two very common illnesses for children.
Once you have established your baby has a fever and have taken practical measures, such as placing them in a cooler environment, to combat this, a fever-reducing medication can be administered.
Febrile convulsions are caused by a rapid increase in the body temperature of young children.
Once you have established your baby has a slight fever, there are a number of measures you can take to keep it under control
If your baby has a slight fever, there are a number of measures you can take to keep it under control.
The average body temperature should be between 35°C and 37°C.
 
While a fever can be treated, it's important to keep in mind that fevers are usually the symptom of an illness and not the illness itself.

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