Child & Baby Health on the Day of Vaccination
Your child will have a number of regular vaccination appointments to attend during the first year alone, and these are all important as they offer him or her invaluable protection against potent viruses and bacteria. Attending these appointments and ensuring that your child sticks to the NHS’ immunization time table is of the utmost importance, however if your child’s health isn’t at its best you may worry about whether or not you should go ahead with a vaccination. In this article we look at whether or not you should go ahead with a vaccine if your child has an illness or allergies.
Should I go ahead with a vaccination if my child is sick?
Generally if your child is a little bit unwell with, for example, a cold or a cough, you should go ahead with your appointment as per usual. If however, your baby is suffering from a fever then you should delay the appointment until they have recovered.
This is because a vaccine stimulates the immune system (your body’s natural defences) into preparing itself for any future infections. If your child’s immune system is already busy dealing with an infection, then a vaccine won’t have its desired effects, and can even be potentially hazardous to your child’s health.
Fortunately the nurse or doctor performing the vaccination will watch out for any signs that might suggest the vaccination should be delayed or avoided, so if you are in doubt then chatting to your doctor or nurse about your concerns is always the best way forward.
There are some conditions which warrant more care and attention. Bleeding disorders like haemophilia and seizures or fits are signs that you should report to your doctor immediately, and are definite signs that your child should probably not undergo a vaccination without a doctor’s examination and approval.
Should I go ahead with a vaccination if my child has allergies?
Having allergies is not a sign that your child will have an allergic reaction to a particular vaccine. They usually have nothing to do with the vaccination process, although if you are really concerned then you should talk to your doctor to put yourself at ease.
Food allergies, skin allergies, and asthma are the most common allergies and these do not influence whether or not a baby should have a vaccination.
Taking a young child to be immunised is never an easy process as no child, regardless of age, will be pleased with an injection. Unfortunately the bulk of childhood vaccinations are delivered via injection, making it important that children are adequately immunised against disease whenever possible. Fortunately the NHS has compiled some general advice for parents immunising their kids.
Dressing for the occasions
It may sound strange, but dressing appropriately for a vaccination can make the whole process much more comfortable and a lot easier. Wearing many layers of clothing, or tight clothing with plenty of straps and buttons, can make vaccinating quite awkward.
Remember that children under 1 year of age typically receive an injection in the thigh, while children above this age will receive their jab in the arm. Dressing your kids with this in mind can make the process much quicker. You are advised to choose clothes that are loose and roll up easily.
It is important to keep calm throughout the vaccination appointment, even though it is perfectly normal to feel a bit agitated or anxious when your child is being vaccinated. This anxiety is often sensed by children, and this can cause them to be agitated.
Remember that doctors and nurses are highly trained in the delivery of a number of treatments, many of which are far more complicated than a simple injection. Many practice nurses and GPs deliver injections daily for the length of their careers, and become very skilled in delivering vaccinations quickly and with a minimum of fuss or pain.
If you are taking a young child in for a vaccination your nurse will usually ask you to hold him or her on your knee, this is often calming and allows the nurse or doctor to deliver a vaccine quickly, sometimes without your baby even noticing.
Key to having a smooth vaccination appointment and keeping calm throughout is arriving in good time. There is little worse than having to rush to get to an appointment, and the stress of having to do so will undoubtedly rub off on your baby and make the whole experience less than pleasant.
If your children are old enough to understand a conversation about vaccination, explaining the process to them can be a good way to prepare them for the appointment. If they know what to expect, and understand that vaccination is for their own good, chances are they will find the process more bearable and make it easier for you too.
It is generally not advised to give your child any kind of medication prior to a vaccination appointment, however over the counter paracetamol or ibuprofen can help to manage the post-vaccination side effects. Many children can develop a mild fever or feel some pain and swelling around the needle wound, and over the counter painkillers can help resolve these minor side effects.
Serious allergic reactions to vaccines are very rare, but they can happen. It is important that you inform your GP or practice nurse about any and all allergies your child might have. This includes any reactions to previous vaccines, or to particular food stuffs like eggs. Some vaccines contain pathogens that have been grown in chicken eggs and children suffering from an egg allergy may react badly to its presence in the vaccine.
Ultimately the key to a smooth vaccination appointment with children of virtually any age is to try and relax. Your anxiety, although perfectly natural, can make your child feel anxious, and keeping them relaxed will definitely help make the whole process much smoother.
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