Haemophilus influenzae type B, or Hib, is a bacterial disease that when untreated can possibly result in young children developing a fatal brain infection. This disease is spread when an infected person’s throat or nose droplets and discharge come into contact with another person. This disease can be effectively treated, for most patients, with antibiotics when caught in time. Being vaccinated can almost completely eliminate a person’s chance of developing this possibly life-threatening illness in the first place.
However, not everyone should get this vaccine and before getting this vaccine, everyone should be aware of the possible Hib vaccine side effects and other safety concerns.
What Are the Symptoms of Haemophilus Influenzae Type B?
Once someone is exposed, if they do become infected symptoms will start to appear within about ten days. Typical meningitis symptoms are common, including:
- Brain and spinal cord covering swelling and inflammation
- Neck stiffness
This illness can also infect other parts of the body causing infection of the blood, bones, covering of the heart, lungs, joints, and throat.
What is the Hib Vaccine and What is its Purpose?
This vaccine should be first administered at two months of age. The child’s doctor will then create a dosing schedule for all necessary follow-up doses. Any child under five years of age who has not had this vaccination should get it as soon as possible. Since the vaccine became readily available, the prevalence of this disease has decreased dramatically. It is estimated that in the last ten years, new cases of Hib in the United States have declined by 96 percent.
What are the Possible Hib Vaccine Side Effects?
All vaccines can cause side effects, but Hib vaccine side effects are typically mild if they even occur. They can include:
- Injection site redness, swelling, warmth, soreness, or pain
- Vague feeling of discomfort
In uncommon cases, irritability and fever are possible. Severe allergic reaction is possible, but rare.
Who Should Not Get the Hib Vaccine?
This vaccine is not for everyone. Most children can get it without any problems, but certain factors may delay vaccination or prevent them from being able to get it at all. These factors include:
- Being less than six weeks old
- Having had a previous allergic to the Hib vaccine that was severe and/or life-threatening
- Those who have an illness that is moderate to severe should avoid this vaccine until they recover
Also, be sure to tell your child’s doctor about their current and past medical conditions and medications.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). List of Vaccines in the United States. Retrieved on June 24, 2010 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/vaccines-list.htm
Directors of Health Promotion and Education. (2010). Haemophilus Influenzae Type B. Retrieved on June 23, 2010 from the Directors of Health Promotion and Education: https://www.dhpe.org/infect/hib.html
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