Hepatitis B Vaccine for Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

The hepatitis B vaccine protects against infection with the hepatitis B virus. A hepatitis B infection can damage the liver and lead to liver cancer.

The hepatitis B vaccine is given as a series of 3 shots. The age at which the first shot is given varies among provinces. Check with your doctor or visit your provincial health website to learn what is recommended in your area.

If your child is exposed to hepatitis B before getting the vaccine, he or she may need a hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) shot. This gives instant protection. The HBIG shot will prevent infection until the hepatitis B vaccine takes effect.

The vaccine may cause pain at the injection site. It can also cause a mild fever for a short time. Your child should not get this vaccine if he or she is allergic to baker's yeast. This is the kind of yeast used to make bread. Your child should not get a second or third dose if he or she had a bad reaction to the first 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 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 20. 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 severe problems breathing or swallowing.
  • Your child has a seizure.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child gets hives.
  • Your child becomes limp and less alert.
  • Your child has a high fever.
  • Your child cries for 3 hours or more within 2 days after getting the shot.
  • Your child has any unusual reaction after getting the shot.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child has any new symptoms.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: February 9, 2016