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Here are few things you need to know about the BCG vaccine

Here are few things you need to know about the BCG vaccine

BCG vaccination is important for your child and you should not miss it.

Written by Debjani Arora |Published : July 11, 2018 8:27 PM IST

As a mother of two kids, I am in favour of vaccinations. There are many people who think that vaccinations can do more harm than good to your baby. There are many studies too that have challenged the efficacy of vaccinations but they have not been conclusive in their findings. Experts in the medical field and doctors still suggest that going for regular and timely vaccination can protect an infant from various preventable diseases. One vaccine that you need to give your baby early in life is the BCG or Bacilli Calmette-Guerin vaccination. This vaccination is given to a baby right after the birth. Many mothers feel wary about this as they feel it could be too painful for the baby to endure. But listen up mothers, a BCG vaccine is important. The sooner it is given the better. Know if painless vaccinations are better than the conventional ones.

Here is what happens to your baby after the vaccine is given:

  • BCG vaccine is given to the baby right after the birth or within one month after the birth.
  • The BCG vaccination protects the child against tuberculosis affecting the central nervous system, bones and joints.
  • It is given subcutaneously (injected) over the left shoulder.
  • After about a month or so a small swelling appears at the site of the injection, which might break into an ulcer with a little watery discharge.
  • This discharge might continue for about six weeks and heal on its own.
  • Eventually, the ulcer heals leaving a permanent scar.
  • Some children might get enlargement of the glands in the armpits or the collarbone.

What you should do:

  • The ulcer or boil that appears on the left shoulder or hand heals on its own so don't ever apply any ointment or powder.
  • Avoid massaging the baby in that area until the ulcer heals.
  • If you see any kind of enlargement of glands that don't subside within a day or two, talk to your paediatrician about it. If the swelling increases or abscess is formed then report it to your doctor immediately.
  • If you have delayed the vaccine for more than a year, discuss its consequences with the doctor. In India, a lot of infants lose their lives to TB and BCG is their only saving grace.

In case you missed the BCG vaccine

Your doctor might ask you to make your baby go for a skin test or Mantoux test which is a mandatory test for TB. If the test is positive then BCG injection is not given and if the test is strongly positive a chest x-ray might be done to decide on a treatment course.

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