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Children's Vaccines Health Center

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Immunizations - Home Treatment

Help your child handle immunizations

Many immunizations are given as shots (injections). Your child may experience brief pain as the needle penetrates the skin or muscle. Some vaccines cause more discomfort than others. In general, you can help decrease your child's discomfort by making sure that he or she is physically comfortable and well rested before getting immunized. You can use home treatment measures to help relieve some of the common minor reactions to immunizations.

Relieve mild reactions to immunizations

You can help relieve some of the common, temporary, mild reactions to immunizations with basic home care.

  • Fever. A slight fever may occur after you or your child gets a shot. Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil) may help lower a fever. Follow the package instructions carefully. If you give medicine to your baby, follow your doctor's advice about what amount to give. Check with your doctor first if you are not sure your young baby's fever is related to getting immunizations. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome, a rare but serious disease. For more information on fevers, see the topic Fever or Chills, Age 11 and Younger or Fever or Chills, Age 12 and Older.
  • Swelling or redness. The area around the injection site may become red and swollen. Apply a wrapped ice pack or cool compress to the area for about 10 to 20 minutes. If this does not reduce the symptoms, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help relieve the discomfort. Follow the package instructions carefully.
  • Fretfulness and poor appetite. For a few hours after getting immunized, a baby may be fretful and drowsy and may refuse to eat. Plan quiet activities at home for the evening after your child receives an immunization. Hold and cuddle your child when needed. Keep your home at a comfortable temperature, because your child is more likely to be fretful if he or she gets too warm.
  • Skin rash. A mild skin rash may arise 7 to 14 days after your child gets the chickenpox or measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) shot. These types of rashes can last several days and go away without treatment.

For more information about reactions to immunizations, see When to Call a Doctor.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: April 01, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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