Protect Your Child against Hib Disease
Make sure your child gets all doses of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine for the 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).
Hib vaccines can prevent Hib disease. CDC recommends Hib vaccination for all children younger than 5 years old. Hib vaccines protect babies when they are at highest risk of getting the disease and having serious complications.
There are two types of Hib vaccine for babies. With one vaccine, your child gets doses at 2, 4, and 6 months old; with the other vaccine, your child gets doses at 2 and 4 months old. With both vaccines, children need one booster shot when they are 12 through 15 months old.
Call your child's healthcare provider if you have questions and to make sure your child has received all scheduled doses of Hib vaccine.
Hib Vaccines Work
Before Hib vaccines, there were about 20,000 cases of invasive Hib disease each year in the United States. "Invasive disease" happens when germs enter parts of the body that are normally free from germs, for example in blood or spinal fluid. When this happens, the disease is usually very serious, needs treatment in a hospital, and sometimes causes death. Today, because of ongoing vaccination, there are fewer than 50 cases of invasive Hib disease each year in the United States.
Despite the success of Hib vaccine, Hib bacteria are still out there. People can spread Hib bacteria to babies and children, who can get sick if they are not protected by Hib vaccination. If the number of people with Hib vaccinations gets too low in the United States, Hib disease could make a comeback.
Hib Vaccines Are Safe
Most people who get a Hib vaccine do not have any problems with it. As with any medicine though, side effects can occur. Most side effects are mild and get better on their own in a few days. Mild side effects can include redness, warmth, swelling, or pain where the shot is given or fever.
Hib Disease Can Cause Deadly Infections
Hib bacteria can cause invasive disease, including deadly 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.
People Spread Hib Bacteria to Others
People spread Hib bacteria by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the bacteria. Even people who are not sick can have the bacteria in their noses and throats and spread the bacteria.