Dear mum, a crucial aspect of your journey is ensuring your baby's overall well-being through immunisation. In this article, we will explore the significance of immunisation, what to expect during an appointment, and address a common concern about administering paracetamol before immunisation.
The importance of immunisation in babies
Immunisation for babies is a straightforward and highly efficient method of safeguarding your little one from severe and common diseases that attack babies due to their developing immune system.
It not only shields your baby but also contributes to the overall well-being of your home and your community by reducing the transmission of diseases.
What to expect at an immunisation appointment in Nigeria
According to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, a child is fully vaccinated if they have received a BCG vaccine for tuberculosis, three doses of DPT to protect against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus, at least three doses of polio vaccine, and one dose of measles vaccine.
These vaccines should be administered within the first year of the child's life, spread over five visits, including the initial doses at birth.
Following this schedule, children between 12 and 23 months should have completed their vaccinations and be considered fully immunised. Hospitals provide parents or guardians with a health card to document these vaccinations.
Common immunisation side effects in babies
After immunisation, it's normal for your baby to experience some side effects. These may include:
- Mild fever,
- Fussiness, and
- Swelling or redness at the injection site.
These reactions are signs that their body is building immunity.
Can I give my baby paracetamol before an immunisation?
Administering paracetamol before immunisation is generally not recommended.
However, if your baby experiences discomfort after the shots, paracetamol should be the first course of action.
If your baby’s fever lasts for only 24 hours, you can stop administering it to them. If it lasts for more than 24 hours, apply a tepid sponge and check their temperature regularly. If your baby’s fever persists after 48 hours, take them to the hospital immediately.
How to treat the side effects of immunisations
There are several ways to alleviate vaccine side effects:
- Ensure adequate fluid intake.
- Avoid over-dressing children or infants if they feel warm.
- Apply a cold, damp cloth to the injection site for relief.
- Provide comfort measures such as cuddling and gentle massages.
While it's generally advised not to routinely use paracetamol after vaccination, paracetamol can be used if there is a fever or pain at the injection site. The usage should be based on the dosage your doctor prescribes after consultation.
How much paracetamol can I give my baby?
Dosage should be strictly based on your healthcare provider's recommendation. Always follow the prescribed dosage guidelines, ensuring it's appropriate for your baby's age and weight.
When to see a doctor
If your baby experiences severe or persistent side effects after immunisation, seek medical attention promptly. This may include high fever, difficulty breathing, or unusual behaviour.
By staying informed and seeking guidance from your healthcare provider, you can ensure your baby's immunisation experience is as comfortable and safe as possible. Nothing is extra or too much regarding the care and attention you give your little one. Remember, you are your baby's strongest advocate.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Should my baby’s arm swell up after an immunisation?
It's not uncommon for your baby's arm to show a slight reaction at the injection site. This swell usually subsides within a few days.
- Can I give my baby ibuprofen after an immunisation?
It's generally recommended to use paracetamol for pain relief after immunisation. However, consult your healthcare provider for specific advice based on your baby's condition.