Swollen Legs from Shots

Updated on December 16, 2011
B.J. asks from Longview, TX
11 answers

Hi Mamas/Dads!!

My little one got shots on yesterday. He did pretty good all night and today at school. His legs are now swollen, warm and red. Is this normal? Just need my little one to start feeling better soon. I should know what to do since I have two other children but my mind has drawn a blank.


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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone!! He is a different baby this morning!! He had swelling around the injection and I called the nurse last night also. Told me to watch it and make sure that other parts of his leg don't swell. I gave him some pain reliever and put a cool towel on it. I even got sleep last night.... :)

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answers from Minneapolis on

I was always told to put ice on the swelling. If it's severe, he may be having an allergic reaction to the shots and you should call and let the pediatrican know.

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answers from Portland on

If the whole leg is swollen, call the advice nurse.

If the swelling is just localized around the injection sites, that means the body is mounting a good, healthy reaction to the vaccines, which is desirable.

But if your son is complaining about pain or tenderness, put cold packs on the swelling and give him children's pain-killers. Acetaminophen is probably a better choice than ibuprofen, because reducing the inflammation may also reduce his immune-system's response to the shots. So it's better to address the discomfort only, and not the swelling. He should be back to normal in another couple of days.

Also, a doctor told me that keeping the limb moving helps resolve the swelling and tenderness faster. Not violent exercise, but regular, gentle movement.

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answers from Seattle on

reconsider getting more than one shot per visit if you did, and definitely watch for allergies or reactions to certain shots. If you only do one separated shot at a time, it's easy to figure out which ones cause the reaction. And I'd read Dr. Sears' vaccine book.

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answers from Denver on

are his entire legs swollen or just around the site? If its just around the site and nothing bigger than a quarter i wouldnt be concerned but if his entire leg is swelling and red id seek medical help.

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answers from Austin on

I would call the nurse this morning to report it. It probably isn't that big of a deal but they want to know these things. ...and if I'm not mistaken, the information is passed along to the American Academy of Pediatrics for future information on symptoms that might develop.

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answers from Savannah on

You have gotten great advice so far, but I would like to add some advice for next time. The nurse that administers vaccines for my son recommends that you give a warm bath that night and leg massage. It seems to work for us.



answers from Killeen on

as a state imms nurse....it depends on the size of the swelling... i always recommend a cool washcloth never ice applied about two min every ten min if theyll hold still that long. tylenol is ok if the child acts like it is painful always to wt not age... this can happen if the vaccine misses the muscle or if the muscle was too tense during injection... it happens. i have three of my own and theyve all donw this at one time or another... if u have more concerns call ur dr. as for giving more than one shot at a time... a little discomfort is a heck of alot better than suffering a deadly disease... we spend millions researching vaccines for a reason.... hope it gets better and kuddos for taking great care of ur child!!!



answers from Charlotte on

I couldn't have said it better than Peg. And after you get the tylenol in his, put him in some cool water in the sink (not cold). (Clean the sink first, just in case someone disagrees with the sink idea. I liked it because I didn't have to lean over when there wasn't bathing involved!)

My son's leg was like this after the first DPT shot. He stuck it straight out and screamed. Poor baby!



answers from Dallas on

Yes. My daughter had no reactions, my sons leg was blackish/ purple and hot tocthe touch. It looked horrid! He said it didn't hurt but I don't know how it didn't. Doc said motrin and cool compress will take the swelling down. He told me one of the shots is not put in to the muscle so it can inflame the top layer if the skin. If not better by Monday I would let the doc know. Good luck!



answers from Victoria on

neither of my kids ever had this happen. i would call the doctor asap. he might have had an allergic reaction. prayers that its nothing or at the least a quick fix for your son.


answers from San Francisco on

What Peg said!

Also I was told to gently massage the area around the shot (the part that gets hard) to help the swelling go down and reduce the chance of bruising.

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