What is the Hepatitis B vaccine? Is it necessary for children? At what age are children vaccinated against hepatitis B? Find answers to all these questions right here.
Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can lead to the development of cancer later in life. Children are unlikely to contract it unless they have an infected adult in their household or they have been exposed to infected blood or other body fluids.
Does immunizing adults also help?
Immunizing adults against the disease has been ineffective. The idea is to vaccinate people when they are still young children so that they are immune once they become adults.
Why is hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a disease that is caused by virus, if not treated properly hepatitis can be dangerous. Hepatitis B has effects like inflammation of the liver, it causes vomiting and there may be yellowing of the skin and eyes like it happens in jaundice.
If hepatitis is not treated one can get cancer of the liver and it can lead to death. This disease can spread from one person to another, if bodily fluid is exchanged, like using an infected person’s syringe. If a mother has hepatitis B infection, the new born child will also be born with that infection.
Why is hepatitis B vaccine (HBV) necessary for children?
Hepatitis B vaccine is the one used to prevent the disease and make the child immune to it. Like other vaccines, this vaccine too contains small amount of the hepatitis B causing virus, which when introduced in the body, hastens the body to recognise this virus and create antibodies to defend the body from it. Once the body knows this virus, it can effectively fight when infected by it again. The vaccine does not work if there is already virus in the body.
It is the recommendation of paediatricians, that your child be vaccinated with this vaccine right after birth to prevent this disease from affecting them. If a child inherits the virus from the mother, they have to be given the vaccine immediately to prevent the disease. Children can easily get the virus if they are not vaccinated properly at birth.
However, the parents should take the child to a doctor for injection, because certain checks for allergy are required before your child can be vaccinated. It cannot do anything if the disease has happened, and it does not provide protection from the other types of hepatitis virus.
Many children have problems right at birth and cannot take this vaccine, like children who have had transplants and have a weak immune system or if they have haemophilia. Vaccine should be given only when the child is fully healthy and free of diseases, even a cold counts. Always consult a proper doctor and tell them about your child's medical history before they are declared fit for the vaccine.
What are the side effects of hepatitis B vaccine?
1.Allergy: many children are allergic to things like baker's yeast, these children will also be allergic to hepatitis B vaccine. If after the first vaccine, your child has had some severe allergic reaction, contact the doctor immediately.
2. Even if the allergy is minor, it's advisable that you inform the doctor before the booster doses are given. Never get doses from a local druggist, without doctor’s consultation.
3. It is common for the child to have some side effects after the vaccination, like fever, feeling nauseous and loss of appetite. If your child is a new born, it is normal for them to cry a lot and be generally fussy. The area of vaccination will become red, swollen and even painful.
4. However, if your child gets rashes or has difficulty breathing or if their muscles hurt, call the doctor immediately.
What kind of safety precautions must be taken?
If your child has been under some medication or taken some other type of vaccine, wait for a period before giving them the hepatitis B vaccine. If they are receiving any form of treatment, tell your doctor. Tell them about the medications or products your child takes, even cough syrups and herbal medicines should be informed about.
What is the dosage?
The doctor will tell you the dosage, after checking your child. The vaccine is a series of injections given right from birth. There are different time periods. Booster shots can be given a month or six months later after the initial shot. Booster shot schedules differ from child to child.
Try never to miss out on a dosage and make a complete history of your child's medicines and infections that have occurred. It is best to be safe before vaccination.
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- The Indiaparenting Team