Hib vaccine

Immunization with the Hib vaccine is an effective way to prevent epiglottitis caused by Hib. In the United States, children usually receive the vaccine in three or four doses:

  • At 2 months
  • At 4 months
  • At 6 months if your child is being given the four-dose vaccine
  • At 12 to 15 months

The Hib vaccine is generally not given to children older than age 5 or to adults because they're less likely to develop Hib infection. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for older children and adults whose immune systems have been weakened by:

  • Sickle cell disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Spleen removal
  • Chemotherapy
  • Medications to prevent rejection of organ or bone marrow transplants

Vaccine side effects

  • Allergic reaction. Seek immediate medical help if you have an allergic reaction. Though rare, an allergic reaction may cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, hives, weakness, a rapid heartbeat or dizziness within minutes or a few hours after the shot.
  • Possible mild side effects. These include redness, warmth or swelling at the injection site, and a fever.

Common-sense precautions

Of course, the Hib vaccine doesn't offer guarantees. Immunized children have been known to develop epiglottitis — and other germs can cause epiglottitis, too. That's where common-sense precautions come in:

  • Don't share personal items.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available.
Oct. 02, 2012