Vaccination Series to Prevent Rabies After Exposure
Rabies vaccination is a series of shots given over a
period of 2 weeks after a possible exposure to rabies. Rabies vaccines contain
inactivated virus particles that increase the body's immune response, which in
turn helps destroy the rabies virus.
Three rabies vaccines have been approved for use in the United
States; all are considered equally effective and equally safe. The vaccines
Every fall, millions of U.S. children get flu vaccinations at their pediatricians' offices. The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for all Americans who are at least 6 months old.
You may have questions about the vaccination. Why can't last year's flu shot protect your child this year? Do you need to get her a separate vaccine for protection against the H1N1 strain? Should you request the vaccination in nasal spray rather than injection form?
For guidance, WebMD spoke with internist Lisa Grohskopf,...
In the form of a shot, usually in the upper arm
muscle for adults and in the thigh for children. (Shots are never given in the
buttocks because they are not very effective.)
Four times over the
span of 2 weeks. The first shot should be given as soon as possible after
suspected exposure. Additional shots are given on days 3, 7, and 14 after
exposure. A shot of rabies immunoglobulin usually is also given right after exposure.
Local reactions, such as pain, itching, and swelling at the site of
the shot, have been reported after vaccination with each of the three vaccines
available in the U.S. Systemic reactions, such as headache, nausea, abdominal
pain, and muscle aches, are less common.
Newer rabies vaccines used today are not as painful and do not require as many shots as the older vaccines.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
August 27, 2012
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 27, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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