This is a vaccine that decreases your child's risk of getting diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio.
Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis are bacterial illnesses that have potentially serious complications.
Diphtheria is characterized by:
Severe complications are due to the toxins made by the bacteria. They include throat swelling with difficulty swallowing and breathing, inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), paralysis, kidney damage and death.
Tetanus (lockjaw) is characterized by painful muscle spasms that can spread throughout the body. (Muscle spasms in the jaw produce the classic "lockjaw".) The spasms can lead to muscle tears or broken bones. Other symptoms include:
Severe complications include difficulty swallowing and breathing, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, brain damage due to lack of oxygen during spasms and death.
Pertussis (whooping cough) is characterized by:
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly contagious viral infection that can affect the central nervous system. It can cause weakness or paralysis in the arms, legs and respiratory muscles (paralytic polio). Complications include:
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that children get their DTaP and polio vaccines at two months, four months, six months, and between fifteen and eighteen months. The fifth dose in the series should be given between four to six years of age.
If your child has a moderate to severe illness, check with your healthcare provider before he or she receives the vaccine.
You should contact your healthcare provider if your child is not up to date on the DTaP vaccine. Here is a list of questions you can ask about the vaccine.
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