Hepatitis A Vaccine for Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

You can protect your child from hepatitis A with a vaccine. Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause a very serious infection.

Your child can get this virus in two ways. The first way is eating food contaminated with the virus. The second way is from close contact with someone who has the virus.

This vaccine is recommended for all children at 1 year of age. It's also recommended for children younger than 1 year who are going to travel to countries where hepatitis is common. If you are going to travel with a child who has not had this vaccine, talk to your doctor.

The vaccine is given as two shots. The first shot gives your child some protection. But the second one protects your child for at least 20 years. Your child can get the second shot 6 months after the first one.

The shot may cause some pain. It can also make your child fussy or not want to eat. Sometimes children get an upset stomach. But these symptoms aren't common. If your child has a bad reaction to the first shot, tell your doctor. In this case, it may not be a good idea to get the second shot.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not give a child two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the sore area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has a seizure.
  • Your child has symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. These may include:
    • Sudden raised, red areas (hives) all over the body.
    • Swelling of the throat, mouth, lips, or tongue.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Passing out (losing consciousness). Or your child may feel very lightheaded or suddenly feel weak, confused, or restless.
    • Severe belly pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • A rash or hives (raised, red areas on the skin).
    • Itching.
    • Swelling.
    • Mild belly pain or nausea.
  • Your child has a high fever.
  • Your child cries for 3 hours or more within 2 to 3 days after getting the shot.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if your child has any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter Q087 in the search box to learn more about "Hepatitis A Vaccine for Children: Care Instructions".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.