Hepatitis B is a severe form of viral infection in the liver. In a hepatitis B infected person, the virus is present in the blood
. Hepatitis B is a contagious disease which gets transmitted from one person to another if the blood or any other form of body fluids of the infected persons comes in contact with other persons. This virus is not carried by means of food or water or casual physical contacts. It can happen that a child gets hepatitis B 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 know about the side effects, let us find out why one should get the vaccination.
Health Benefits of Hepatitis Vaccine
There is no such treatments 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 by hepatitis B 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 by Hepatitis B and carry the virus in their body lifelong and spread infection to other people. This serious health condition can be prevented with the help of hepatitis B vaccine.
Mostly, three doses of the vaccine are recommended. The first one is at the time of the 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 side effects 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 and 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 have an adverse effect on the nervous system the symptoms that are observed include 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 lead to increase in body temperature. Convulsions and fainting can also occur as a result of hepatitis B vaccine reactions on the nervous system.
Allergic Reactions: This could be a severe side effect of hepatitis B vaccine. The symptoms of allergic reaction 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. Hepatitis B vaccine dangers 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 hepatitis B vaccination is essential for protecting such a serious ailment. As you can see that the side effects can turn serious only in rare cases, one should not avoid simply because one is afraid of the side effects.
By Bidisha Mukherjee
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