Rabies Vaccine Treatment

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Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus. The virus can infect animals, including pets such as dogs and cats. In the United States, wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats are the most likely to carry rabies. The virus is carried in the saliva of an infected animal. If an infected animal bites a person, the virus can be given to humans. When rabies is carried by a bat, there does not have to be an actual bite for the person to be infected. If a person has been bitten by an infected animal or in contact with a bat, the way to prevent the disease is to give a series of anti-rabies shots. Without this treatment, rabies is almost always fatal.

Child at the doctor's office receiving shots

Your child's doctor has decided that anti-rabies treatment is needed. A shot of Rabies Immune Globulin (RIG) is usually given with the first dose. RIG helps protect your child against rabies right away. Also, a series of 4 shots of anti-rabies vaccine is needed to complete the treatment. If the first shot of this anti-rabies vaccine was given today, your health care provider will give you a schedule for follow-up shots. Your child must receive all the shots for the vaccine to be effective (Picture1).

It is very important that you return to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Urgent Care to complete the series of anti-rabies shots on the following dates. The Urgent Care is open from 8AM to 11PM daily except for holidays on the main Hospital campus. Please call (614) 722-4329 to check holiday hours if necessary.

  • 3rd day (date) _______________________.
  • 7th day (date) _______________________.
  • 14th day (date) ______________________.

Reaction to Rabies Treatment

Reactions (side effects) from the rabies treatment are rare, but may include the following: 

  •  A slight rise in temperature (1 to 2 degrees above the child's normal temperature).

  •  The places where the shots were given may become red, swollen and itchy.

If either of these symptoms occurs, call your child's doctor.


Your child must receive all of the rabies vaccine shots.  If you cannot return to the Nationwide Children's Hospital Urgent Care on the days scheduled, call (614) 722-4300 to talk with the nurse or doctor about this.

Arrangements for your child to get the shots at his doctor's office, the Health Department, or Nationwide Children's Urgent Care Center may be possible. One of these special arrangements will need to be made before the day the shot is due. Talk with the nurse or doctor about this.

How to Avoid Animal Bites

It is important to teach your child how to avoid being bitten by an animal. If approached by an animal that may attack you:

  • Never scream and run.

  • Stand very still with hands at your sides. Avoid eye contact with the dog.

  • Once the animal loses interest in you, slowly back away until he is out of sight.

  • If the animal does attack, “feed” him your jacket, book bag, or anything you can put between you and the animal.

  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and don’t move. Try not to scream or roll around.

  • Never tease or chase an animal or pull its ears, tail, or paws, even if the animal is known to you.

  • Always walk away if an animal is growling or begins to growl when approached. Never run!

  • Never bother an animal while it is eating.

  • Don’t eat or carry food when a strange animal is nearby.

  • Never try to pet or catch a wild animal.

  • Don’t go near stray animals or animals you do not know.

Ways to Avoid Rabies

  • Have your dog or cat vaccinated against rabies and have the animal wear its rabies tag.

  • Keep cats and dogs away from wildlife and walk dogs on a leash.

  • If you see any animal acting strangely, have your parents or another adult call Animal Control.

  • If you see a bat, the best thing to do is to leave it alone.

  • Tell your parents or another adult if you are bitten by an animal or wake up in a room with a bat. If you have slept in a room with a bat and your parent or another adult can safely take the bat to the Health Department, it can be tested for rabies.

  • Never adopt wild animals or try to nurse sick wild animals back to health. If you find a sick or injured wild animal, call Animal Control, your local veterinarian or in the Central Ohio area the Crisis Hotline for the Ohio Wildlife Center at 614-793-9453.

Visit http://www.cdc.gov/rabiesandkids for more safety information.

Rabies Vaccine Treatment (PDF)

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