Rabies is one of the oldest and deadly viruses known. People get rabies from the bite of an infected animal. For instance, animals that may have the virus are cats, dogs, bats, and skunks. If you have rabies, you may have a fever, pain, and fear of water. It is good to know that there is an anti-rabies vaccine to prevent the spread of rabies.
1. Prevention of Rabies
It is common for people to have pets or be with animals. Therefore, being in such situations increases the risk of having rabies. Rabies can go into your nerves through an animal bite or scratch. Also, any warm-blooded animal may have the virus. In the United States, the common animals that infect humans with rabies are bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.
Dogs without vaccines cause the most number of deaths worldwide. After going into the nerves, it will travel to the spinal cord and then to the brain. From there, it will multiply. Once it reaches the brain, it will cause death. Hence, dying from rabies is painful. This virus will kill both humans and animals.
An anti-rabies vaccine is made from killed rabies. So, it will not cause rabies. Instead, it will help the body to fight off the virus. Therefore, without this vaccine, you will experience the signs. Once you had the symptoms, it may be too late.
2. Types of vaccine
Pre-exposure Rabies Vaccine
To protect yourself from a possible bite in the future, doctors recommend three doses of this vaccine.
Post-exposure rabies vaccine
If an animal has already bitten you, this vaccine is for you. It is for the health care provider to say if you must have this rabies vaccine. In this type of vaccine, you will get four doses. However, if you had a rabies shot before, you will need two doses of the vaccine.
Moreover, if a pregnant woman became exposed, she must have this rabies treatment. There are no cases of baby defects due to the rabies vaccine. Also, she may have either of the two types of vaccine. An anti-rabies vaccine is the same for humans and animals. It differs in the doses.
Some pet owners have their vaccine at home. Still, check if your country allows self-vaccination. However, other countries require a licensed and accredited health care provider or veterinarian to do it for humans and pets.
If you are thinking of doing it on your own, ask professionals first. Read and follow the instructions. Still, it is ideal and safe to go to a health care provider. By doing so, you will prevent further problems and risks.
4. People Who Need This Vaccine
People who are exposed to rabies must have the vaccine. They are:
- animal handlers
- rabies laboratory worker
- have frequent contact with warm-blooded animals
- travelers who go to places where rabies is common
5. What You Must Say to The Health Care Provider
Tell the doctor if you had allergic reactions from the past rabies vaccine or any severe allergies. Also, tell the doctor if you have a weakened immune system. If you have a cold, you can have the rabies shot. If you have a severe illness, wait before getting a pre-exposure vaccine. However, if you are exposed to the virus, you must receive the vaccine despite the illness or disease.
6. Side Effects
There are side effects or risks upon having this rabies treatment.
- Soreness or redness at the area where you got the shot
- Abdominal pain
- Pain in the joints
Some people may faint after having the vaccine. Therefore, contact your doctor if you feel these side effects. If you experience hives, swelling of the face and throat, trouble breathing, and a fast heartbeat, go to the nearest hospital.
If you don’t have someone to vaccinate you after bitten, wash the wound with water and soap. It is up to you to get the rabies shot. Still, rabies is fatal and a serious issue. Hence, do not shrug it off even if you had an animal bite or scratch. The rabies vaccine is unique from other vaccines. The reason is that most people use it after exposure to the virus.