Hepatitis B is a severe form of viral infection in the liver. In an infected person, the virus is present in the blood. It is a contagious disease which gets transmitted from one person to another if the blood or any other form of body fluid of the infected person comes in contact with other people. This virus is not carried by means of food or water or casual physical contact. It can happen that a child gets the infection from the infected mother at the time of birth. Adults can get the infection as a result of unprotected sex with hepatitis B patients. It can also get communicated due to sharing of surgical equipment or injection needles. Before we learn about the side effects, let us find out why one should get the vaccination.
Health Benefits of Hepatitis Vaccine
There is no treatment that can cure the hepatitis B infection. Rest and some dietary restrictions need to be followed to get rid of the virus. Usually, the virus takes a few months to get out of the system of the infected person. If infants or young children get infected, then it can cause severe damage to the liver and may even lead to a chronic infection of the liver. This in turn can cause severe liver cancer, which could be fatal. Sometimes, people may not be aware that they are infected and carry the virus in their body throughout their life and spread the infection to other people. This serious health condition can be prevented with the help of this vaccine.
Mostly, three doses of the vaccine are recommended. The first one is at the time of birth, the second one within two months of birth, and the third one in between 6 to 18 months. If a child is not vaccinated at the infant stage then he or she can be vaccinated at the age of 11 or 12. The side effects in babies that are commonly observed are given below.
Tolerable Side effects: The most common side effect in newborns that is observed is a mild fever. There are also some other reactions that show up for a brief period of time after the vaccination. They are soreness and swelling at the site of injection, nausea, dizziness, a sense of discomfort, runny nose, sore throat, weakness, and so on. These symptoms can be observed for a few hours or few days, but usually do not have any serious impact on the health of the baby.
Effect on the Nervous System: When the vaccine has an adverse effect on the nervous system, the symptoms that are observed include a burning sensation on the surface of the skin, numbness and pain all over the body, headache, eruption of shingles, etc. In some severe cases, it can cause inflammation of the brain that often leads to increase in the body temperature. Convulsions and fainting can also occur as a result of the vaccine reacting on the nervous system.
Allergic Reactions: This could be a severe side effect of the vaccine. The symptoms of allergic reactions include eruption of skin rashes, itching, inflammation in and around the mouth areas like lips, tongue, throat, face, hives, difficulty in breathing, lowering of blood pressure, discomfort in the chest, asthmatic condition etc. This condition could be life-threatening for a child who get allergies from baker's yeast. This is because the vaccine is made with baker's yeast. In such cases, the child should not be vaccinated at all.
The vaccination is essential for protecting oneself from such a serious ailment. As you can see that the hepatitis B vaccine side effects turn serious only in rare cases, one should not avoid simply because one is afraid of them. It is important that you get this vaccination done from a doctor with a good reputation and record.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.