Hepatitis A Vaccine for Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

The hepatitis A vaccine protects your child against infection with the hepatitis A virus. Your child can get hepatitis A from eating contaminated food or from close contact with an infected person. Hepatitis A infection can be very serious.

The hepatitis A vaccine may be recommended for some children starting at 6 months of age and for people who have a high risk of infection, such as travellers to countries where hepatitis is common. Talk to your doctor to see if your child needs a hepatitis A vaccination.

The vaccine is given as two shots. The first shot gives your child some protection. But the second one protects your child for at least 20 years. Your child can get the second shot 6 months after the first one.

The shot may cause some pain. It can also make your child fussy or not want to eat. Sometimes children get an upset stomach. But these symptoms aren't common. If your child has a bad reaction to the first shot, tell your doctor. In this case, it may not be a good idea to get the second shot.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not give a child two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the sore area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has a seizure.
  • Your child has symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. These may include:
    • Sudden raised, red areas (hives) all over the body.
    • Swelling of the throat, mouth, lips, or tongue.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Passing out (losing consciousness). Or your child may feel very light-headed or suddenly feel weak, confused, or restless.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • A rash or hives (raised, red areas on the skin).
    • Itching.
    • Swelling.
    • Belly pain, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Your child has a high fever.
  • Your child cries for 3 hours or more within 2 to 3 days after getting the shot.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: October 6, 2017