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Caring for your child after immunization

It is common that your child may experience side effects to immunizations. Learn how to treat and care for your child. 

Common side-effects

Some children may feel mild discomfort after getting a shot. This may last 1 to 2 days. Common reactions include:
  • Soreness, redness, and swelling at the injection site
  • A fever 1-2 days after the shot
  • MMR or chickenpox vaccine: a fever, rash or both may appear up to several weeks after the shot

Check your child's body temperature

A fever is a very common reaction. To measure your child's temperature:
  • Have your child calm
  • Use their armpit
  • Use digital thermometers rather than glass thermometers or fever strips
  • Check their temperature every 4 hours

Treating a fever

Low fever (37.4 - 38C)

  • Take most clothes off or dress lightly
  • Do not wrap your child in a blanket
  • Keep the room cool, use a fan
  • Give your child plenty of fluids to drink

Fever (Over 38 - 38.9C)

  • Give fever medicine: acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g. Children's Advil or Motrin) as per the directions on the package
  • Take most clothes off or dress lightly
  • Keep the room cool, use a fan
  • Give your child plenty of fluids to drink
  • Do not wrap your child in a blanket

High fever (39C or higher)

Call or go to your doctor and do the following while waiting:

  • Give fever medicine
  • Take most clothes off or dress lightly
  • Keep the room cool, use a fan
  • Give your child plenty of fluids to drink
  • Do not wrap your child in a blanket

Seeking medical attention

These problems are very rare after immunization, but if they happen, it's important to take action.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you see:
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Swelling on face of lips, or tongue gets bigger
Get to a doctor immediately if your child has any of the following:
  • High fever (39°C/102.2°F or higher)
  • Weakness and looks pale or sick
  • Increased sleepiness and does not wake to eat
  • Crying for more than 3 hours
  • A strange cry, different than their normal cry
  • Hives (raised red or pink spots of different sizes on skin)
  • Seizure or convulsions (shaking, twitching or jerking motions of the body)
  • Swollen abdomen, vomiting often, bloody stools
  • A fever for more than 48 hours
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your family doctor, your local community health centre, or HealthLink BC by calling 8-1-1, 24 hours a day.

Learn more

Download the brochure Caring for your child after immunization. It is available in several languages:

SOURCE: Caring for your child after immunization ( )
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