How can polio infections be prevented?
Polio can be easily prevented with the polio vaccine.
The vaccine is given by needle and is very safe. Polio is included in a vaccine that protects against multiple diseases. Typically, the vaccine a baby receives also protects against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) and tetanus. Children are immunized 4 times in infancy (usually at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months of age). They also get a booster of the vaccine between the ages of 4 and 6 years.
Side effects of this vaccine are usually very mild. Your child may:
- have a slight fever
- be fussy
- be sleepier or have less appetite than usual
Your child's arm or thigh might be a bit red or sore where the needle went in.
These side effects are common. They happen 12 to 24 hours after the immunization and usually go away within a few days.
You can still get polio if you travel to a polio infected country (see travel health notices). If you are travelling to one of these countries visit your health care provider at least 6 weeks before you leave. You and your children may need a vaccine booster shot.
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