Polio Vaccine for Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Polio is a disease that can be fatal or cause paralysis. It is caused by a virus. Polio can be prevented with a vaccine, which is given to children as a shot. Before there was a polio vaccine, the disease used to be common in North America. Polio has now been eliminated in North America, but it still occurs in some parts of the world.

Children should get four doses of the vaccine, which is normally given as part of the DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine. In addition to polio, this vaccine gives protection from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), and Haemophilus influenzae type B.

Talk to your doctor or public health nurse about when your child needs the vaccine and if your child has missed a dose of polio vaccine.

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?

  • You may give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain or fussiness, to help lower a fever, or if the area where the shot was given is sore. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
  • 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.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the sore area for 10 to 15 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 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.

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: August 9, 2016