There are many doubts regarding the rabies vaccine and these are some of the questions answered by Dr B Padmakumar, Professor in the Medicine department at Alappuzha Govt Medical College.
Should we follow a special diet after taking the rabies vaccine?
There is no need to follow any type of diet after taking the vaccine. The rumours that we shouldn't eat fruits like lemon are unscientific.
Do applying lemon, spicy items, and leaf juice on the bitten spot kill the virus?
There is no proof that viruses will die if we apply these items to the wound. We should clean the wound using soap and water.
Do we need to take the vaccine after being bitten by a vaccinated dog?
It is considered that dogs and other animals will get sufficient immunity after taking the vaccine. However, there is no evidence that it’s fully capable of stopping the contagion of the disease. There is no confirmation of the number of antibodies produced in the dog’s body. Therefore, even if the dog is vaccinated, the person who is bitten should be vaccinated.
Is it true that we should only take the vaccine after observing the animal for ten days?
There is no scientific evidence for this because we should start taking the vaccine when we are instructed to observe the animal. Animals with rabies will die within ten days and in this regard, we are instructed to observe the animal. But there shouldn’t be any delay in taking the vaccine.
Should we need to take test to find out the number of antibodies, after being vaccinated?
There is no need to conduct any tests because the body will get sufficient immunity if the vaccine is taken at the proper dose and time. But antibody tests are conducted on people who have low immunity.
Are there chances to get rabies infection after taking the vaccine?
It is very rare and may be due to a number of reasons. The delay in taking the vaccine is one reason. The vaccine can fail in people who have category three injuries when Immunoglobulin is not injected into the wound or if a proper vaccination schedule is not followed.
Can pregnant women and feeding mothers take the vaccine?
Definitely. There are no reports stating side effects in pregnant women or in the unborn baby.
Should we take a rabies vaccine after a rat bite?
There is no need to take a rabies vaccine for rodent bites like rats. First, clean the wound using soap and water, and take the tetanus vaccine. But it should be confirmed that it is a rat bite. At times, people come to the hospital without knowing what bit them and the vaccine is suggested in such situations.
Are there any side effects of rabies vaccine?
The cell culture vaccines used now are very effective and they usually don't cause any side effects. There could be itchiness, small pain or swelling on the vaccinated part for one or two days. Other than that, there are no severe side effects caused by the vaccine.
What should we do when a wild animal bites or scratches us?
This should be taken seriously as the bite of every wild animal is considered a category three injury. Immunoglobulin should be injected into the bitten part.