It is painful to
allow your baby through the pain of a shot – but this small pain can save your
baby’s life from a deadly disease. All babies should get the first shot of Hepatitis
B Vaccine (HBV) before they are taken home from the hospital.
What is Hepatitis B and How Serious Is It?
Hepatitis B is an
infectious liver disease led by hepatitis B virus. Once infected, your child
can develop an acute infection that can range from a very mild illness with few
or no symptoms to a serious condition requiring hospitalisation. Your child may
be able to fight the infection or may become lifelong carrier of the virus,
which may cause long-term problems like cirrhosis (liver disease) or liver cancer.
People with lifelong hepatitis B usually do not have symptoms, but the virus
causes liver damage over time. The infection is incurable but treatment can
help preventing serious problems.
What Are the Symptoms?
No symptoms are
usually seen in infants. As your child grows, he or she might show the
- Troubled eating
- Pain in muscles, joints, and stomach
- Nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting
- Yellow skin and eyes
- Dark urine
How Do Babies Get Exposed to Hepatitis B?
Your baby can get
hepatitis B in the following ways:
- From infected mother
- By touching open cuts or sores of an infected person
- From ear piercing needles that are not cleaned
- By sharing personal items and food used by an infected person
What is Hepatitis B Vaccine?
The shot of HBV
protects your child by preparing his or her body to fight the virus. It acts as
a shield reducing the risk of getting the disease. But if the mother has
hepatitis B, then Hepatitis B Immune Globulin (HBIG) is given, which works best
within the first 12 hours of life. This will give your baby the extra boost to
fight the virus as soon as he or she is born.
When Should Your Child Get the Hepatitis B
Your child generally
needs three to four doses of HBV at the following ages:
- First dose at birth (HBIG within 12 hours if the mother has hepatitis B infection)
- Second dose at 1-3 months
- Third dose at 6-18 months
Your baby may need a
fourth dose depending on what the doctor recommends.
Why Is the Vaccine Recommended?
The HBV injection
creates long-term immunity
and protects your child from serious disease not only throughout their
childhood but also into their adult years. Infants and young children, infected
with hepatitis B, have a 90% chance of developing a chronic infection,
including cancer. Eliminating the risk of infection also protects your child
from risk for cirrhosis, and other liver diseases.
Is the Hepatitis B Vaccine Safe?
The HBV injection is
very safe, as it has no serious side effects. At most, your child can have a
low fever or soreness at the injection site.
When to Avoid Hepatitis B Vaccine?
It is better to
avoid the HBV injection when your child is sick or has a severe allergic
reaction (anaphylaxis) after a previous dose of the vaccine
or is allergic to baker’s yeast.
What Care Is Needed After Hepatitis B Vaccine?
Depending on your
baby’s age, the doctor may recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the mild
fever and soreness in the injection site that may occur.
Call the doctor if
you are not sure of the recommended schedule for the HBV or about your own
hepatitis B carrier state or any moderate or serious side effects occur after
your child is injected. But do not let it loose, and you must take it seriously
and finish every doses of the HBV for your child for his or her healthy future.
is hepatitis B vaccine usually given to babies? What is it important to give
hepatitis B vaccine to babies? What care should be taken after giving hepatitis
B vaccine to babies? Discuss