This is a vaccine that decreases your child's risk of getting diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are three 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, brain damage due to lack of oxygen during spasms and death.
Pertussis (whooping cough) is characterized by:
Complications may include pneumonia, dehydration, ear infections, seizures and death. Severe symptoms and complications are more common in infants younger than age 1.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get their DTaP vaccine:
You may need to show proof of DTaP vaccination before your child can attend school.
The DTaP vaccine is frequently given with the polio and hemophilus influenza vaccines.
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 during your appointment.
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