What do you do when your child *has* had a serious reaction?

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
5 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

What do you do when your child *has* had a serious reaction?

Question
I am curious about what you would do when one of your children HAS had a bad reaction to vaccines. I fully vaxxed my son (now 9) in the US until 13 months and then in Canada -- always with reservation but feeling the pros outweighed the cons. Then we took our identical twin girls for their 2 and 4 month shots. At the 2 mo. visit in Canada, I remember asking if they adjust for weight (like other medicines), as the girls were TINY (about 6.5 lbs at 2 months compared to almost 12 pounds for my son). The nurse said nope, it all works the same (which didn't make sense to me at the time but I was so sleep deprived and overwhelmed, I didn't say any more).

After the 4 month shots, the smaller of my girls started screaming about 30 minutes after the vax, and didn't stop for hours. It was a scream like nothing else I've heard in my life. Completely unconsolable. Wouldn't nurse. Nothing. I gave some Tylenol and got a friend to watch the other kids so I could take her to emerg. She stopped crying in the car, and when we got there she was grey, limp and unresponsive. It was terrifying. The triage nurse sent us straight back (never happened before, even with the worst of my son's asthma attacks) and clearly looked worried. She checked some things and ran to get the doctor. AS he showed up, my daughter just kind of came out of it. And that was it. When we left, the nurse said she couldn't believe that was the same baby who came in.

Our GP, after talking to the head of the health unit, recommended delaying all vaxxes until the girls were a year. At 15 months, we gave the menningoccical because it was the only single-illness vaccine available. That seemed to go OK.

But I have been so unsure of what to do since (and they are now SIX!). They got chicken pox naturally and it was no big deal. My son, who had had the varicella vax, also seemed to get a mild case. I have delayed his second MMR because he has asthma and always got sick when I would schedule an appt.

They are still on the small side (~42 pounds) but I am thinking I will need to do something to get them sort of back on track. We are thinking of doing the MMR for all three in the springtime when they are  out of cold/flu season. But I don't know that I will ever be able to get them another DTaP for the girls. From what I read on the CDC website, if your odds of reaction increase, and increase in severity, if you have additional DTaPs.  The health unit doctor says that is probably what she reacted to. I am thinking the real danger time for Pertussis has past (although it would indeed suck to get pertussis).

They don't need HiB. They don't need varicella. I think they are too old for pneumoccical, too. And I don't think they can get Polio in our province that isn't attached to the DTaP. I think you can get DT in our province when you are 7. Would that be worth doing if they've had two tetanus compontents? Would it be wrong to wait on that til they are a little older?

Anyway. I guess my main aquestion is this. So many friends say "Oh, the odds of a bad vaccine reaction are 1 in a million". But what do you do when your child has won that lottery (and when she has a sister with the same genetic makeup)? For years, I said I would take measles and mumps over that horrible scream and limp grey baby, because at least there are things you can do to HELP a child with measles and mumps.

And I know you aren't doctors :). Our own doctor thinks I am reacting too emotionally. But he wasn't there and didn't see her.

I do value your reasoned and thoughtful comments, and your sense that one size doesn't fit all. Thanks for any thoughts you have.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: What do you do when your child *has* had a serious reaction?

Catherina
Administrator
Hi Question,

how scary! Persistent crying for more than 3 hours and a collapse like the one you are describing is indeed regarded as a contraindication for further DTaPs - often, doctors give DT instead to make sure that the basic immunization against diphtheria is finished. Whatever you do, you do not need to restart the series and since the immune system will be boostered due to the girls having had their first round of shots, you would probably just need one DT or dT containing shot.

There are two ways in which you could proceed if you wanted to catch your girls up now. You could give a dose of DT - that should boost their immunity to both diphtheria and tetanus and give them good protection for the next couple of years or three. Then, as preteens (so at least 2 years after the DT), give a dose of dTaP - the CDC says:

We have a 13-year-old patient who was given DT (pediatric) as a preschooler after she had experienced excessive crying following a dose of DTP. Now, we are wondering if we can give her Tdap since we know she may not be protected against pertussis.
Yes, you can. Many of the precautions to DTaP (e.g., temperature of 105°F or higher, collapse or shock-like state, persistent crying lasting 3 hours or longer, seizure with or without fever) do not apply to Tdap. This issue is discussed in CDC's Tdap recommendations, available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5503.pdf.


If you wanted pertussis protection sooner than that, you could go with the dTaP sooner and not give the DT (and risk lower immunity against diphtheria). I would discuss that with your real life doctor (maybe s/he is more likely to discuss if you come with a catch up scenario? Personally (non medical advice), I would probably go with the dTaP rather than with the DT - then dTaP, because I would want pertussis protection.

Alternatively, if you are in or near Quebec - take them to get the MMR first (because there is an outbreak there and measles are dangerous - even if not every case results in a reaction like you describe it).

As for number of shots - in your situation, you could do a titer test a month or longer after the MMR (also for your son) to see whether they are immune and then not do the second to reduce the number of shots they get overall.

It must be difficult to trust that "everything will be ok" after having lived through such a reaction - neither pertussis, nor measles are "trivial" at this age though, so I would seriously consider getting the girls covered (well, actually, I don't know what I would do if I was in your shoes and had seen what you have seen, but I think I would consider the path above).

Just thinking aloud - hope it helps - let us know what you decide and how it goes

Catherina

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: What do you do when your child *has* had a serious reaction?

Question
Thanks for your thoughtful and kind reply last fall. I have just written myself a note to call and set up an appt for the girls to get the MMR during the Easter break (mid April, hopefully well past this season of many colds and viruses). I think later in the summer I will then see if our doctor will do MMR titres on all three kids and go from there (he thinks I'm a bit crazy for not vaxxing, tells me to not listen to Jenny McCarthy, etc.... but I just remind him that it's not Jenny McCarthy who is shaping my concerns but that triage nurse who couldn't hide her worry when she saw us, and our own experience -- reminding him that there was no other reason for her to have had such an experience that day, that it was clearly linked to the vax, etc. etc. etc.).

Anyway. I am wondering if you can suggest anything to help support them before and after the vax (trying to cut down the odds of a bad reaction). I read something about giving Vit. A?? But don't know if that was on a reputable site. My main concern will be that they are healthy and well that week.

Thanks for your comments on this site. I will let you know how it goes.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: What do you do when your child *has* had a serious reaction?

Catherina
Administrator
Welcome back :)

it is known from developing countries that vitamin A deficiency makes measles more dangerous for children, so in immunisation campaigns, for example in India, kids are given one very high dose of vitamin A when they get their measles vaccine. You can give a multivitamin with vit A before the MMR if you want. I would not do it too long (meaning not more than a week) and stay within the recommended daily intake. Vitamin A is one of those vitamins that you can overdose. Here is the NIH fact sheet, which is very good, IMO: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamina/

I hope this helps. I am glad you have found a way forward that you are comfortable with and I think that in your situation the 1xMMR followed by titre testing is a very good compromise!

All the best
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|  
Report Content as Inappropriate

Re: What do you do when your child *has* had a serious reaction?

Karina_9
In reply to this post by Question
You have shared valuable information and hope it will be useful for many parents. Came to know about popular health care services offered via South Korea Medical Tourism. Planning to take my psoriasis a treatment there.
Loading...