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Health Information For Parents
The diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine protects against:
DTaP immunizations are given as a series of 5 injections, usually given at ages:
A vaccine called Tdap (the booster shot) should be given at ages 11 to 12, and to older teens and adults who haven’t yet had a booster with pertussis coverage. (This is especially important for adults who will be around newborn babies, such as grandparents or other caregivers.) Then, Td (tetanus and diphtheria) boosters are recommended every 10 years.
Pregnant women should get the Tdap vaccine in the second half of each pregnancy, even if they’ve been vaccinated in the past. Tdap also can be given after a deep cut or severe burn to prevent tetanus infection.
Use of the DTaP vaccine has virtually eliminated diphtheria and tetanus in childhood and has greatly reduced the number of pertussis cases.
The vaccine can cause mild side effects: fever; mild crankiness; tiredness; loss of appetite; and tenderness, redness, or swelling in the area where the shot was given.
Rarely, a child may have a seizure, a high fever, or uncontrollable crying after getting the vaccine. But these sorts of side effects are so rare that researchers question whether they’re even caused by the vaccine. Most kids have a few minor or no side effects.
Simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization, but your doctor might choose to reschedule the vaccine if your child has a more serious illness.
Talk to your doctor about whether getting the vaccine is a good idea if your child had any of the following after an earlier DTaP shot:
Your doctor might give a partial vaccine or no vaccine, or may decide that the benefits of vaccinating your child outweigh the potential risks.
Your child may have a fever, soreness, and some swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. For pain and fever, check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and to find out the right dose.
A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad on the injection site may help reduce soreness, as can moving or using the arm.
A vaccine is another word for what most kids call a shot.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that’s rare in the United States, where health officials immunize kids against it. But it’s still common in developing countries where immunizations aren’t given routinely.
Tetanus (also called lockjaw) is a preventable disease that affects the muscles and nerves, usually due to a contaminated wound.
If you’re old enough to read this, you’ve probably had most of your shots. But even bigger kids may need a shot once in a while. Find out more about them in this article for kids.
Missing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little “ouch” moment protects you from some major health problems.
Tetanus is a bacterial infection that grows in a contaminated wound. Because it can be serious, it’s important to get immunized. Find out more.
Pertussis is characterized by severe coughing spells that end in a whooping sound when the person breathes in. It can be prevented with the pertussis vaccine, part of the DTaP immunization.
If you’re afraid of shots, you’re not alone. Next time your doc asks you to roll up your sleeve, try these tips.
Find out what the experts have to say.
Which vaccines does your child need and when? Use this immunization schedule as a handy reference.
Immunizations have protected millions of children from potentially deadly diseases. Learn about immunizations and find out exactly what they do – and what they don’t.
Immunizations protect kids from many dangerous diseases. Find out what vaccines your child needs to grow up healthy.
Vaccines help keep kids healthy, but many parents still have questions about them. Get answers here.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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