What to do after the shots


Your child may need extra love and care after getting immunized. Many of the shots that protect children from serious diseases can also cause discomfort for a while. Here are answers to questions many parents have about the fussiness, fever, and pain their children may experience after they have been immunized. If you don't find the answers to your questions, call us!


My child has been fussy since you immunized him.  What should I do?

  • After immunizations, children may be fussy due to pain and/or fever.  You may want to give your child acetaminophen, a medicine that helps to reduce pain and fever.  Some examples of this are Tylenol, Panadol, and Tempra.  DO NOT GIVE ASPIRIN.  Motrin is not approved for children under the age of six (6) months.  See chart below.  If the fussiness lasts for more than 24 hours, you should call the office.


How much fever-reducing medicine (acetaminophen) should I give my child?

Dose of acetaminophen to be given every 4-6 hours, by age or by weight

1-3 Months


4-11 Months

12-17 lbs

12-23 months

18-23 lbs

2-3 years

24-35 lbs

4-5 Years

36-47 lb

1.25 mL Infant Formula*

2.5 mL Infact Formula*

3.75 mL Infant Formula*

2 chewable (80mg) tablets*


5 mL (1 tsp) children's liquid*

3 Chewable (80 mg) tablets*


  7.5 mL (1-1/2 tsp) children's liquid*

 *Active Ingredient in Infant and Children Liquid: Acetaminophen 160 mg (in each 5mL in 1 tsp)
 *Active Ingredient in Chewable Tablets: Acetaminophen 80 mg in each Tablet

      *Consult your pharmacist to be sure you choose the correct dose and formula for your child.



My child's arm (or leg) is swollen, hot and red.  What should I do? 

  • A clean, cool washcloth may be applied over the sore area as needed for comfort.  If there is increasing redness or tenderness after 24 hours, call the office.  For pain, give acetaminophen.  See chart above.  DO NOT GIVE ASPIRIN.


I think my child has a fever. What should I do? 

  • Check your child's temperature to find out if there is a fever. The most accurate way to do this is by taking a rectal temperature.    Be sure to use a lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, when doing so.  If your child's fever is 105°F or higher by rectum you need to call us.
  • If you take the temperature by mouth (for an older child) or under the arm, these temperatures are generally lower and may be less accurate.  Call your clinic if you are concerned about these temperatures.

Here are some things you can do to reduce fever:

  • Give your child plenty to drink.
  • Clothe your child lightly.  Do not cover or wrap your child tightly.
  • Give your child acetaminophen.  DO NOT USE ASPIRIN.
  • Sponge your child in a few inches of lukewarm (not cold!) bath water.


My child seems really sick.  Should I call the doctor? 

  • If you are worried AT ALL about how your child looks or feels, please call us.


Call the clinic if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

  • Does your child have a rectal temperature of 105°F or higher?  Remember, a temperature taken under the arm or by mouth usually registers lower than a rectal temperature.  You should call us if you are concerned about these temperatures.
  • Is your child pale or limp?
  • Has your child been crying for over 3 hours and just won’t quit?
  • Does your child have a strange cry that isn’t normal (a high-pitched cry)?
  • Is your child’s body shaking, twitching, or jerking?


What are vaccinations? 

  • Vaccinations protect your child against serious diseases.  Most vaccinations are given in a shot.  The words “vaccination” and “immunization” mean the same thing.


What diseases do vaccines protect against?

  • Vaccines protect against measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Hib disease, and chickenpox.  Vaccines cannot prevent children from getting minor illnesses like colds, but they can keep children safe from many serious diseases.  Without vaccinations, your child could get very sick.


Isn’t all this talk about diseases just a way to scare parents so they’ll bring their children in for shots? 

  • No! Many of these diseases still kill people. From 1989 through 1991, more than 150 people in the United States died from measles and thousands more were permanently affected. Children in the United States also continue to die from chickenpox. When children get measles, chickenpox, and other diseases that vaccines could have prevented, they can also suffer from brain damage, hearing loss, heart problems, and lung damage.


I don’t know anybody who has had mumps or rubella.  Why does my baby need these shots? 

  • You might not think that these diseases are a serious threat today because you don't see or hear much about them but they are still around. If we stop vaccinating against these diseases, many more people will become infected. Vaccinating your child will keep him or her safe.


Are vaccinations safe? 

  • Most vaccines cause only minor side effects, such as soreness where the shot was given or a slight fever. These side effects do not last long and are treatable. Serious reactions are very rare, Remember, if your child gets one of these dangerous childhood diseases, the risks of the disease are far greater than the risk of a serious vaccine reaction. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor or nurse.


What if my child has a cold, a fever, or is taking antibiotics?  Can she still get vaccinated? 

  • Yes, your child can be vaccinated if she has a mild illness such as a cold, a slight fever, or is taking antibiotics.  Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.


How many times do I need to take my baby in for vaccinations? 

  • A lot!  Your baby needs at least five visits to the doctor for vaccinations before he is two years old.  All these visits are necessary because there are eleven diseases your baby needs to be protected against and most require several doses for full protection.  Your child will also need vaccinations between the ages of 4 and 6, and then again when he is 11-12.


How do I know when to take my baby in for shots? 

  • If you are not sure, call your clinic or your local health department to find out when the next shots are due.  Every time your child gets vaccinated, make sure you know when to bring him or her back for the next set of shots.


How do I keep track of my baby’s shots? 

  • You need a personal record card of your child's immunizations. This card should be brought with you to all medical appointments. Whenever your child receives vaccinations, make sure your clinic updates your child's shot record,


What if I miss an appointment?  Does my baby have to get the shots all over again? 

  • No. If your baby misses some vaccinations, it's not necessary to start over. Your clinic will continue the shots from where they left off.
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