Haemophilus influenzae or HiB is a type of bacteria. In this article, we will know how it affects the body of infants, how babies are at risk, and why taking the HiB vaccine is beneficial. We will also look at the vaccination schedule, its guidelines, and the care you need to take for HiB.
Haemophilus Influenzae, a bacteria, causes different types of infection in the body. These infections can be anything from mild ear or throat infections to very severe ones like meningitis or blood infections. According to doctors, HiB infections are ‘invasive’ and affect those body parts that are free of germs, like spinal fluids or the bloodstream. They can get serious, and need extensive treatment in a hospital. Invasive diseases may also lead to death.
The age group at most risk of getting HiB is children under five years. HiB can be deadly for babies. It was a dominant cause of bacterial meningitis among children less than five years old in the US.
The most common disease that HiB causes is meningitis. The bacteria affects the tissues of the spinal cord and the brain. The symptoms are:
There are other diseases as well that HiB can cause. They are throat swelling, skin infections, bone infections, pneumonia, infection in the joints, etc.
HiB vaccine is a vaccine for Haemophilus Influenzae bacterial infection. It contains dead HiB bacteria that, when injected into the body of a baby, helps the body create antibodies for HiB. The vaccine is specific to type B bacteria, and it is a preventive method for the HiB infection among babies.
In India, the pentavalent vaccine given to newborns is included in the HiB vaccine.
HiB vaccination for babies in India requires three doses. This is the schedule:
The baby gets the first dose when it is six weeks old. 0.5 ml of the vaccine is injected via intramuscular injection on the left thigh.
When the baby turns ten weeks old, you can go for the second dose. It is also an intramuscular injection on the left thigh. The dose is 0.5 ml.
The third dose is given when the baby is fourteen weeks old. The dosage is the same, 0.5 ml, via intramuscular injection on the left thigh.
Babies under six weeks of age should not be given the vaccine. It is also recommended by the Indian Association of Paediatrics to give a single booster dose at 12-18 months of age, but this has not been listed under the government’s universal immunization schedule.
HiB, as we discussed earlier, is a dangerous bacteria. And it is responsible for fatal diseases and infections. Some of them can be nasty and deadly. Doctors and pediatrics recommend the HiB vaccine as it prevents diseases caused by the HiB bacteria. Some of the diseases caused by HiB are:
Although HiB infections are rare, we recommend getting vaccinated.
The vaccines are thoroughly tested for safety as most of the vaccines are meant for babies. So, they are safe. But common side effects are inevitable. For the HiB vaccine, they are:
There is a risk of a serious reaction to the vaccine. But that is very rare. Even if there are any allergic reactions to the vaccine, they occur almost immediately after the baby gets the vaccine. So, you should contact the doctor straightaway.
Although the HiB vaccine is recommended for all babies, you can choose to delay or avoid it. If your baby has had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine after the first dose, you should not get the other two doses. Not getting the vaccine is better for the baby in this situation.
You can also delay the vaccination if your baby is sick. Getting a vaccine during illness is not recommended. In such a case, you should wait till the baby fully recovers.
HiB immunization comes with its side effects. They make your baby uncomfortable and irritable. Here is what you can do to comfort the baby:
Watch your baby closely after it gets the HiB vaccine. It may get restless and need your attention and care.
It is important to observe your baby after it gets the vaccine. There may be some mild side effects that go away after some days. However, the baby may need comforting from your side to relieve the pain and the irritability because of the vaccine. But, if the side effects of the vaccine stay for more than a few days, you should seek help from a doctor, especially if there is an allergic reaction or rashes.
We hope this information was helpful in some way or the other. The HiB vaccine is highly recommended for the safety of your baby.
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