What Are the Side Effects of a Rabies Vaccination?


Quick Answer

Soreness, swelling, itching or redness at the site of the injection, as well as headache, nausea, dizziness, muscle aches and abdominal pain are common mild side effects of a rabies vaccination, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fever, hives and joint pain are possible moderate side effects.

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Full Answer

A fever over 104 degrees Fahrenheit, weakness or prickling in the fingers or toes, problems with speech or swallowing, and issues with balance or eye movement are serious side effects that require immediate medical attention, warns Everyday Health. Confusion, seizures, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, and swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or eyelids are also serious potential side effects that warrant emergency medical care, notes Mayo Clinic.

Rabies is a serious, potentially fatal viral infection contracted through the bite of an infected animal, such as a raccoon, fox, bat, dog or cat, explains Everyday Health. The rabies vaccine prevents infection by stimulating the body to produce antibodies against the virus, advises Mayo Clinic. Doctors administer the rabies vaccine as a prophylactic to people who are at high risk of coming in contact with rabid animals, such as veterinarians and animal handlers. Doctors also give the rabies vaccine to people who receive a bite, scratch or lick from an animal known or thought to have rabies.

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