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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is the cholera vaccine?
The vaccine is given to help protect you from bacteria that cause cholera. Cholera is an infection that can cause severe watery diarrhea and vomiting. Outside the US, the vaccine is available for adults or children. This vaccine may be given in 2 or 3 doses as a liquid to swallow. A booster dose may also be needed. In the United States, the vaccine is only given to adults aged 18 to 64. This vaccine is given as a single dose, in a liquid to swallow. The cholera vaccine can safely be given with other vaccines. It should be separated by at least 8 hours from the oral typhoid vaccine.
Who may need the cholera vaccine?
The vaccine is not given routinely. It is only given to people who are at high risk for infection. Your healthcare provider can tell you if you need the vaccine and when to get it. The following are possible reasons you may need the vaccine:
- You live in or often travel to a country where cholera is common or there is a current outbreak. The most common areas are Haiti, and parts of Africa, South America, Asia, and the Pacific.
- You are an emergency or relief worker in a country where cholera is common or there is a current outbreak.
- You were or will be directly exposed to anyone who has cholera.
- You will or have consumed food or water contaminated with cholera bacteria.
Who should not get the vaccine or should wait to get it?
If you are sick, wait until you are feeling well before you get the vaccine. The following are reasons you should not get the vaccine:
- You had a severe allergic reaction to a past dose of the cholera vaccine, or to any of its ingredients.
- You are a pregnant or breastfeeding woman.
- You have taken an antibiotic within the past 14 days.
- You have taken the malaria medicine chloroquine within the past 10 days.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before I get the cholera vaccine?
- You have any severe allergies.
- You have or are around someone who has a weakened immune system.
- You got the cholera vaccine and found out you are pregnant shortly after you got the vaccine.
What are the risks of the cholera vaccine?
You may develop a headache, abdominal pain, nausea, or diarrhea. You may also feel more tired than usual or lose your appetite. These are usually mild and should go away quickly. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. Rarely, this may become severe or life-threatening.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:
- Your mouth and throat are swollen.
- You are wheezing or have trouble breathing.
- You have chest pain or your heart is beating faster than normal for you.
- You feel like you are going to faint.
When should I seek immediate care?
- Your face is red or swollen.
- You have hives that spread over your body.
- You feel weak or dizzy.
When should I call my doctor?
- You have abdominal pain, nausea, or diarrhea.
- You lose your appetite.
- You have a headache or feel more tired than usual.
- You have questions or concerns about the cholera vaccine.
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