DESCRIPTIONSerum sickness is an allergic reaction usually appearing 7 to 12 days (sometimes
much sooner) after giving or taking a foreign serum (such as antivenom following snakebites or horse serum antitoxins) or any of a number of drugs.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSHives.
Joint pains, including the jaw.
Swollen lymph glands.
Allergic reaction to a foreign substance in the body.
Positive skin test of the foreign serum.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCETo avoid the need for tetanus antitoxin (a horse serum used to protect against tetanus), make sure your children (and the entire family) have had basic immunizations with tetanus toxoid, and boosters as required. This way, your child will never need tetanus antitoxin.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSPrecipitous drop in the child's blood pressure.
Complete cure within 1 to 2 weeks.
HOME CAREBed rest if the child's joints are painful.
MEDICATIONYour physician may prescribe antihistamines, salicylates, or corticosteroids.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your child can resume normal activity as soon as the condition and sense of well-being will allow.
DIET & FLUIDS
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of serum sickness.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.