Red, Swollen, Hard Circle Around Vaccination Site on Thigh - Normal???

Updated on March 27, 2010
S.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
15 answers

My baby got his HIB and pneumococcal vaccination yesterday and now there'S.a red, swollen circular area around the vaccination site on his thigh. It'S.hard to the touch and is pretty big (diameter of about 2-3 inches). This is the first time he'S.getting this sort of reaction. All his previous shots just left a small dot where the needle went in. Is this normal?? Should I call the doctor? Thanks!

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answers from San Diego on

Normal - it happened to my daughter for several vaccines, but never for my son... it goes away in about a week I think - don't worry!

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answers from San Diego on

Sometimes my kids would get a lump at the injection site, and I was told just to rub it to work it out and it would go away in a few days. However, my youngest son had this same thing at his 6 month shots. (He had no reaction to his 2 or 4 month shots). It didn't go away, despite my rubbing it and normal use of his leg. It started itching him, and when he was coordinated enough, started scratching it and rubbing it himself. We went in a couple times and was told it was nothing to worry about, but when he was about a year old and making it bleed because of his constant scratching at it, we went in to a specialist (and I postponed his other shots until we figured this one out).

They thought it was itching and bothering him because he had scratched it so much. So we covered it for weeks and let it heal, so that he couldn't get at it. Then, when it was healed, but still a bump that was bothering him, they said they could do a test and actually scoop out some of the area to see what was causing it, I agreed. We put some numbing medication (like a lotion) on it an hour before his appointment and bandaged it in a special bandage, and went in to let them cut the lump out and stitch him back up. When they analyzed it, they told me it was a "severe and persistant reaction to the aluminum in the shot". It irritated me greatly, because I had told my doctor about my concerns about the metals in the shots, and had a previous son who had reacted to the mercury (I thought). My doctor had assured me that they did not put mercury in the shots anymore, and thought I was being paranoid and irrational. I trusted him about the mercury, and then find out there was aluminum in it.

Anyway, the specialist said she thought they got all of it, and my son recovered nicely. He's 4 now, and there is a scar where he had the stitches, but the site doesn't bother him any more. I have not yet continued his shots, though, so he is behind a bit. I have yet to find a doctor who is knowledgeable enough to give me good advice concerning him, as I have been told he is a "highly sensitive child" by many doctors. His skin reacts to even some bandaids.

Anyway, I'd keep a close eye on it, and if you're not happy with your doctor's explanation about it, get a second opinion. But sometimes it will just go away.



answers from Philadelphia on

my children always ended up with hard spots with the red circle as well. As far as my doc always told me, it is normal. If your child starts to run a fever or a rash forms than call your doc immediately!! But if it bothers you that much i would just call your doc S. you are reassured!



answers from Las Vegas on

Call the doc just to be sure but my son had the same reaction to that shot. It had never happened before and hasn't since. I freaked out but it went away after a few days.



answers from Los Angeles on

That is not an uncommon reaction. It always made me S. mad when my kids doctors office acted like I should be okay with something that large/hot/painful. I could never be S. cavalier though. I put my little ones in tub with a cup of epsom salt and wrm water every 4 hours or S.. At least I know they were more comfortable as a result. When my 4 year old daughter became old enough to speak up about her discomfort, the first thing she asked for was a warm epsom salt bath.
Good luck...



answers from Los Angeles on

This happened to my son with one of his vaccines too. It is normal, as long as it goes away within 2-3 days. If it stays longer than that, I'd call your doc.




answers from Washington DC on

Mom, is your little one cranky, have a temp. too? It'S.not really S. unusual for them to suffer from redness,edema and hardness at the injection site.
It'S.always nice to give them a little Tylenol before the injection. Also take a washcloth in a baggie with you. As soon as your little one gets his injection go to the restroom and get the washcloth wet with cold water and place it on the injection site for the ride home. But not on the bare skin. This really helps.But if this goes on and he continues to run a fever, increase in crankieness or the site continues to harden by all means call the MD.



answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter just had her 2 year check up on Friday and got the last of her prevnar (pneumococcal) shots. She also got the red swollen circle and hard lump underneath. You can put ice on it and give tylenol/ibuprophen to help with the swelling and pain. You should call the doctor if it doesn't start going down in one to two days or if the redness starts getting bigger. If there is a red line that starts to move outward that could be a sign of infection. It isn't "normal" or typical reaction, but is a possible side effect. I just saw my doctor on Monday, hence all of the info. I hopes this helps. I was back and forth all weekend about taking her to an urgent care, but she was acting fine S. I waited until Monday and by then it looked much better. Good Luck.



answers from Boise on

Any time something is bright red and hot to the touch, there is local infection/toxin.

NCD liquid zeolite - look it up online. It can clear out the mercury within 2-7 days.



answers from Sacramento on

My 5mth old son just had this last month from the same vaccine. My first never did have any injection site reaction S. I was shocked. It appeared about 24 hrs later, and continued for about 3 days, but was getting better. What worried me the most was how hot to the touch it was, but about 48 hrs that resolved. He didn't like me touching it or put anything on it. S. I just let it be. I did mention it to his peds today, (he just got his Dtap) and they said its normal. As long as it resolves in about 2-3 days, and there doesn't continue to be a fever. BTW he still has a huge knot on that leg too!!


answers from Fresno on

My younger daughter gets this every time she gets a vaccination. It goes away in 24-48 hours. My older one never had that happen. I think it just depends on the kid and the shot. (Also, my younger one had really fat thighs, S. they always used bigger needles, and maybe that was part of the reason.) Anyhow, nothing bad ever happened as a result, and the hard red spot always went away on its own.



answers from Honolulu on

I'd definitely go to the Doctor... it'S.better to be safe than sorry.



answers from Portland on

Both my daughters had the same thing. From what I know it is normal and will go away in a while. If everthing else seems fine, don't worry too much.


answers from Chicago on

I would put in a call to your pediatrician. My husband got a Dpt a few years ago when our 1st baby was born because we wanted to get the Pertussis vaccination -- he had that happen and it turned out the site got infected. And, it happened quickly, like the next day. S., if it starts to get warm to the touch, hardens, seems to be bothersome to your baby, and fever persists, I would call the pediatrician and possibly take him in.

Good luck!
A. F.
Local Childcare Coordinator - Cultural Care Au Pair
(and FTWM to 2 under 3)
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answers from Honolulu on

yes it is normal although the nurse should have massaged it really good after giving it to her that would have prevented most of that. But if you feel it is more swollen or redder than it should, a quick call to be on the safe side is never an unimportant call.

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