Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis vaccinations offer protection against three serious diseases in one shot. The three-in-one combination vaccine can help from having to give a child multiple painful injections.
Diphtheria is a deadly disease that causes a build up of bacteria in the throat. This can lead to obstructed airways and breathing difficulties.
Tetanus is an infection that can be received through a cut in the skin by contaminated dirt or rust. Tetanus causes extreme muscle inflammation and spasms. The muscles become so tight that they can affect breathing or heart function.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is suddenly making a comeback in some areas of the United States. The bacterial infection causes a build up of mucus in the nose and throat area that can create breathing difficulties.
The vaccine is given in four doses. The first three are given when an infant is two, four, and six months. The next dose comes when the child is between the ages of fifteen and eighteen months. A booster shot is usually given when a child turns 12, but that depends on the form of the vaccination that has been used.
Tetanus boosters are given every ten years once adulthood is reached. The booster is often given earlier if an adult seeks medical care for a deep cut or puncture wound as a preventative measure.
The vaccinations are 95% effective in preventing Diphtheria and Tetanus, while only 58% effective in preventing Pertussis. Evidence has shown that vaccinated children who then come down with Pertussis usually have a much milder case than those who have not received the vaccination.
In 1 out of 10,000 vaccinated children, severe pain at the injection site, vomiting, and a high fever of 105º or higher have occurred. In extremely rare cases (0.03%), brain swelling and comas have occurred. Commonly, the only side effects are mild pain and swelling at the injection site and a low-grade fever.
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