MMR and MMRV Vaccine: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

An MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. An MMRV vaccine adds protection against chickenpox (varicella). These diseases used to be common in children before the vaccine. Children get two doses of MMR. They get the first dose when they are 12 to 15 months old and the second dose at any time before they enter school. These shots will prevent measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox (with MMRV) for life.

A child who had a bad reaction to an MMR or MMRV shot should not get another one. Be sure to tell your doctor if your child ever had a seizure or trouble breathing after a vaccination.

Some parents worry that the MMR or MMRV vaccine causes autism in children. Many studies have been done, and no link has been found between these shots and autism.

Adults born before 1970 do not need an MMR or MMRV vaccination. Adults born in 1970 or later who have not had the MMR or MMRV vaccine may need the vaccine if they do not have evidence of immunity. Women who have not had the MMR or MMRV vaccine should get it at least 4 weeks before trying to get pregnant. Rubella during pregnancy can cause birth defects. If you are pregnant, you cannot get the vaccine until after your pregnancy is over.

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

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) if your child has a slight fever after the MMR or MMRV shot. 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.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) if your joints feel sore or stiff after an MMR or MMRV shot. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Your child may get a mild rash 1 to 2 weeks after the MMR or MMRV vaccine. It usually goes away without treatment. Call your doctor or nurse call line if the rash does not go away or it gets worse.

When should you call for help?

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

  • You or your child has a seizure.
  • You or 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 you 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:

  • You or 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 becomes limp and less alert.
  • You or your child has a high fever.
  • Your child cries for 3 hours or more within 2 days after getting the shot.

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

Where can you learn more?

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

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Current as of: November 10, 2016