This was Madeleine after her immunisation. Happily playing!
Today I took Madeleine in for her one year immunisation. I always get really nervous before her injections. I’m worried about adverse effects, allergic reactions and just her being unsettled for the next few days. But I also understand that it’s important and that it’s crucial she has them, not only for her health but also the health of other babies around her.
The one year injections are different to the ones she’s had previously. It vaccinates against two diseases. The first immunisation will help protect her from Haemophilus Influenza type B and meningococcal C. The second immunisation will help protect her from measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Last week when we had her 1 year appointment with the maternal health nurse, she mentioned that the MMR injection is the one babies tend to react to quite often. Common reactions for this one are high temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (101 degrees Fahrenheit) and a body rash. The high temperature is what tends to worry me. I’ll just keep a close eye on her. The nurse also mentioned that it usually occurs within the first 24 hours or in 7 to 10 days time.
So before today, I made sure I stocked up on all her medications:
- Oral and rectal paracetamol (acetaminophen, Tylenol®)
- Suppositories are useful if kids are vomiting and having trouble stomaching medication
- Oral ibuprofen (Advil®)
If you’re unsure how to use these, check with your local doctor or pharmacist. In Australia, the dose is usually given by weight and the two medications can be alternated to make sure the fever is under control. Make sure you note when the last dose of each medication is given to avoid too frequent dosing.
What do I do when Madeleine reacts to an immunisation?
- If there is a fever, I alternate between paracetamol (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen
- Offer her lots of fluid
- If she’s not eating her food, I’d offer her milk as well so at least she’s getting some nutrition as well as fluid
- Remove some layers of her clothing. Do not overdress them
- If her temperature is still too high, then I’d take her into hospital to get her checked out
- If the site of injection is red, swollen and itchy, I apply a cool compress to the site give pain relief like paracetamol (Tylenol®) to ease the discomfort.
At a year old, they actually have the vaccinations in their arms and not their thighs anymore. This is because at this age they are more mobile, and having injections in their thighs would prevent them from walking and crawling. Their arms at this age are also large enough to receive the injections. I didn’t know this, and therefore didn’t dress her in looser clothing!
The nurse said that the MMR vaccine is quite stinging. Luckily, she took the injection without much fuss! She cried a little bit but she calmed down straight away when I picked her up. I always look away when she’s getting her vaccinations. I am scared of needles myself so I can’t bear to watch my daughter get them! There are some numbing agents that can be used on the area but she seems to be taking the vaccinations well, so I haven’t had to use them.
After the injection, they ask you to hang around for about 15 minutes to make sure that your child does not have any adverse reactions. I hung around for about 25 minutes just to be safe!
She was a little more sleepy throughout the day which is usually the case on her vaccination days. So we’ll see how the next few days go. Hopefully she won’t have a fever or a rash!
Do other mums get nervous when their children have immunisations?
References: Better Health Channel and Raising Children’s Network