Rabies is a deadly disease caused by viral infection, which attacks human central nervous system. It is often spread through a bite or scratch from a rabid animal such as dog, cat, fox, bat, raccoon, skunk, ferrets etc.
If a rabid animal bites your child, the first symptoms of the disease surface after long time gap. On an average, it can take about two months for the same.
The virus has a long time to incubate. Thus the vaccine for rabies, administered to your child, can fight against the infection even after a bite. But if your child begins to show the symptoms, the progress for rabies is relentless.
Symptoms Of Rabies In Children:
There are three stages of rabies symptoms in children. As each stage of symptoms progresses, it becomes much dangerous to the health of your child, sometimes it is fatal.
a. First Stage Of Symptoms:
The first stage of symptoms of rabies in children is called the prodromal period. Your child will experience many symptoms which might last from one day to four days.
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle ache
- Sore throat
- Tingling sensation in and around bite area
b. Second Stage Of Symptoms:
The symptoms that occur during this stage are similar to encephalitis. That is the inflammation of brain.
- Fever up to 105 degree F
- Irritable sensation
- Excess agitation
- Muscle spam
- Abnormal posture
- Excess production of saliva and tears
- Vocal cords paralysis
- Aversion towards bright light touch and sound
c. Third or Last stage of symptoms:
This stage features some of the extreme symptoms. In regards to the progressive break down experienced by your child’s nervous system. During this stage, your child might slip into a coma stage and stop breathing. Normally, death occurs from four days to twenty days of this stage.
- Double vision
- Foaming in the mouth
- Facial muscles lose control
- Lack of breathing control
- Inability to swallow
What To Do If Your Child Is Bitten Or Scratched By A Rabid Animal?
If you know of your child has bitten by a rabid animal, do the following immediately:
- When a rabid animal bites your child, you must clean the wound well.
- Rush to the doctor to find about which animals in that specific location are likely to transfer rabies.
- A medical practitioner would advise you whether rabies vaccine is needed or not, based on few rules.
[ Read: Influenza Vaccine ]
When Rabies Vaccine Is Not Needed ?
Your doctor would decide that your child does not need a rabies vaccine for a number of reasons.
- Observe the animal, which bit your child, for the next 10 days. If it is healthy and is hanging around in the vicinity, then it is not a rabid animal.
- If the animal is a pet in the neighbourhood and is immune for rabies, then your doctor may not advice the vaccine.
- Animals like mice, chipmunks, squirrels, rats and birds would not have rabies.
- Reptiles, fish and amphibians are also not infected by rabies virus.
When Are Vaccines For Rabies Essential?
Your doctor would advise rabies vaccine for your child under various circumstances.
- If the animal is a new one in the region.
- If the animal, which bit your kid, is not observed for 10 days.
- If you are residing in an area where rabid animals are common.
- When you are observing the animal for 10 days and it shows one or more of rabies symptoms. The treatment would begin immediately.
- Animals living in the wild like raccoons, foxes, bats, coyotes, skunks, etc. might have rabies.
- Unvaccinated pets like cats and dogs might also have a rabies infection.
Rabies Vaccine For Children:
The rabies vaccination are prepared by growing it in cells, happens in a laboratory. Generally, three variants of cells are required to develop rabies vaccine.
- Human diploid cells
- Fatal rhesus lung cells
- Chick embryo cells
As soon as, the virus develops in these cells, the cells are purified. Later it is treated with a chemical known as beta-propiolactone, which eradicates the virus completely. After the vaccine is administered to your child, it works in a remarkable way and is 100% effective.
[ Read: Childhood Diseases ]
Types Of Rabies Vaccine:
The US FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) have licensed:
- Four formulations with inactivated rabies virus.
- Two formulations with RIG.
1. HDCV Or Human Diploid Cell Vaccine:
Human diploid cell vaccine have inactivated virus of rabies. It arrives in two different formulations, such as
- IM (Intramuscular injection)
- ID (Intradermal injection)
2. PCEC Or Purified Chick Embryo Cell Vaccine:
This vaccine is developed from the rabies virus. After it is cultured in the embryos of chicken and is later inactivated.
3. RVA Or Rabies Vaccine Adsorbed:
This vaccine is processed, using the virus, which is grown in the cultured lung cells of fetal rhesus monkey. Later it is inactivated.
vaccine4. RIG Or Rabies Immune Globulin:
RIG, is also known as, HRIG or Human Rabies Immune Globulin.
- It is produced from the serum of humans which have immense number of antibodies which can resist rabies.
- It is used along with the inactivated vaccine for rabies.
- The RIG vaccine offers immediate but short term protection against rabies.
Side Effects Of Rabies Vaccine In Children:
With the foray of technological advancements in the field of modern medicine, the side effects of rabies vaccine have decreased considerably. As a parent you must remember, that side effects tend to differ based on the vaccine type. When vaccine is administered to your child, the series must not be interrupted owing to these side effects.
The mild side effects of rabies vaccine are:
- Reddishness with pain and swelling in and around the injection area.
- Headache, muscle pain, nausea, abdominal pain or dizziness.
The serious side effects of rabies vaccine are:
- Joint pain, hives and fever.
- A rare illness known as Guillain-Barre disorder, triggers temporary paralysis that lasts less than 12 weeks.
If a rabid animal bites your kid and if your doctor advises to get a vaccination, prepare your child for the vaccine shots. Ease his/her fear for injections by explaining its benefits and how it prevents him from getting sick.
We realize this situation would be tough for you and your kid, but make sure you stay strong and be the pillar of support to your child throughout these days.
Do share your experiences with other parents here.
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