Are Vaccines Safe?

 Vaccine Allergy or Infantile Eczema?

Vaccine Allergy or Infantile Eczema?

My 4mo old baby girl developed a reddish skin rash 2days after the vaccine shot. Could it be a vaccine allergy? Are vaccines safe Doc?

The skin rash comes and goes. It was there a week back. And now, it has again erupted anew. It is spread irregularly over the neck, chest, cheeks, and the inner side of her elbows. The red patches of the skin are slightly raised, and a few whitish pinhead size dots are scattered all over.

The Expert, Ren Chats Answers

Vaccine Allergy or Infantile Eczema?

The fear of vaccine allergy is universal. The safety of vaccines is being questioned by more and more people.

Most adverse reactions to vaccines are not mediated through immune system. And those that are allergic reactions, are an expression of hypersensitivity to some component of the vaccine.

The vaccine reactions occur within minutes of its administration, and usually not later than 4 hours. Self-limited local swelling, pain, and redness at the site of injection are the most common. The rash that erupts after a few hours is usually non-specific skin rash, often not an outcome of an allergic reaction, and not even reproduced on giving the next dose.

Any skin eruption occurring more than four hours after administration of a vaccine is highly unlikely to be due to vaccine allergy. More so the skin rash, that comes and goes every other day.

The description of the spread and presentation of the skin rash in a 4 month old infant points towards atopy, a familial predisposition to developing atopic diseases like hay fever, asthma, or infantile eczema, triggered on exposure to common environmental and food antigens.

The prevalence of infantile eczema has nearly tripled during last three decades. This has also been the period of growth of global immunization. It is, therefore, only natural to doubt vaccines’ impact on the immature immune system and relate it to eczema in infancy.

In the first year of life, babies receive the biggest number of vaccine shots, the period when almost every other baby suffers from infantile eczema.

Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain how vaccines might cause atopic diseases. The hygiene hypothesis is one of them, which emphasizes that the prevention of common childhood infections deprives the immune system of influencing factors that are important to its development. This argument just does not hold water for vaccines do not prevent the most common infections of childhood.

The debate can, however, continue. But the available evidence from large well-controlled studies do not support the hypothesis that vaccines cause or aggravate infantile eczema or other atopic disorders: See the video

For more on vaccine safety click here.

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