Your Child's Immunizations: Rotavirus Vaccine
Article Translations: (Spanish)
Rotavirus is a common virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea, especially in infants and young children. Childcare centers are a common site of outbreaks.
The vaccine, which is a liquid given by mouth, is recommended at ages 2 and 4 months, and again at 6 months, depending on the brand of vaccine used.
Why the Vaccine Is Recommended
Rotavirus can cause severe diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and, for some kids, hospitalization. Besides protecting the individual child, vaccination against rotavirus can help stop spread in the community.
Side effects can include diarrhea and vomiting, and a fever.
When to Delay or Avoid Immunization
The vaccine is not recommended if your child:
- is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
- had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine
- has severe combined immune deficiency (SCID), a genetic disorder
- had intussusception, a type of bowel blockage, in the past
Let the doctor know if your child has an allergy to latex, since one of the rotavirus vaccine brands has a latex applicator.
Talk to your doctor about whether it's a good idea for your child to be vaccinated if he or she:
- has an abnormality of the digestive system or a gastrointestinal disease
- had intussusception in the past
- has recently received a blood transfusion
- has immune system problems from a disease such as cancer; is taking steroids, or other drugs that weaken the immune system; or is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
Your doctor may determine that the benefits of vaccinating your child outweigh the potential risks.
Caring for Your Child After Immunization
For pain and fever, check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and to find out the appropriate dose.
If vomiting or diarrhea happen, give your child small amounts of fluid often and watch for signs of dehydration, such as less urine (pee) than usual.
When to Call the Doctor
- Call if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided.
- Call if there are problems after the immunization.
Rarely, some kids will develop intussusception within a week of getting the first dose of the vaccine. So after the first dose, watch for symptoms such as periods of intense abdominal pain with uncontrollable crying; vomiting; blood or mucus in the poop; and seeming weak, drowsy, or fussy.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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