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Protect Your Child against Hib Disease

Couple with babyMake sure your child gets all doses of Hib vaccine for best protection against Hib disease. Hib bacteria can cause serious diseases like meningitis (an infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord).

How Can I Protect My Child from Hib Disease?

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) can be prevented by Hib vaccines. All children younger than 5 years of age should be vaccinated with Hib vaccine. Vaccinating babies protects them at a time when they have the highest risk of getting the disease and suffering the most dangerous symptoms.

There are two types of Hib vaccine for babies. With one vaccine, your child gets doses at 2, 4, and 6 months of age; with the other vaccine, your child gets doses at 2 and 4 months of age. With both vaccines, children need one booster shot at 12 through 15 months of age.

Call your child's healthcare provider if you have questions and to make sure your child has received all scheduled doses of Hib vaccine.

Sticky note that says: What can I do to protect my child from Hib disease? Vaccinate your child on time. Talk with your child's doctor if you have questions. Keep a record of your child's vaccinations to make sure your child is up-to-date.

Hib Vaccine Works

Before Hib vaccines, there were about 20,000 cases of invasive Hib disease each year in the United States. "Invasive disease" means that germs invade parts of the body, like blood or spinal fluid, that are normally free from germs. When this happens, disease is usually very serious, needs treatment in a hospital, and sometimes causes death. Today, with ongoing vaccination, there are fewer than 50 cases of invasive Hib disease each year.

Despite the success of Hib vaccine, parents need to remember these bacteria are still out there. Hib bacteria can be spread to babies and children who are not protected by Hib vaccine. If vaccination levels get too low in the United States, Hib disease could make a comeback. Read a story about a family affected by Hib disease.

Risks of Hib Vaccine

Hib vaccines are safe, but side effects can occur. Most side effects are mild or moderate, meaning they do not affect daily activities. They also get better on their own in a few days. Mild problems, such as redness, warmth, swelling or pain where the shot is given or fever, may occur.

Mother tickling baby

All children should get the full series of Hib shots as infants and need one booster shot at 12 through 15 months.

What Is Hib Disease?

Hib bacteria can cause invasive disease, including life-threatening infections such as:

  • Meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord)
  • Epiglottitis (swelling in the throat that makes it hard to breathe)
  • Pneumonia (infection in the lungs)

Other forms of invasive Hib disease include blood, bone, and joint infections.

How Is Hib Disease Spread?

Hib bacteria spread through contact with mucus or droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person, often by coughing or sneezing. Hib bacteria are also commonly spread by people who have the bacteria in their noses and throats but who are not ill.

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