Updated: December 5, 2017
It is important that children, especially infants and young children, receive recommended immunizations on time. Vaccines also protect teenagers and adults to keep them healthy throughout their lives.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis can spreads easily from infected people where as tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds.
Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat which can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death.
Tetanus causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body which can lead to locking of the jaw. In this condition the patient cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus can cause death very rarely.
Pertussis causes coughing spells so bad that it is hard for infants to eat, drink, or breathe. These spells can last for weeks which can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death.
To protect adolescents and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, Tdap vaccine is given. This vaccine is meant for the children above 7 yeras of age who had not got DTaP.
One dose of Tdap can be given at age 11 or 12. People who did not get Tdap at that age should get it as soon as possible. Pregnant women should get a dose of Tdap during every pregnancy to protect the newborn from pertussis as infants are more prone to life-threatening complications from pertussis. Tdap may safely be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Before getting the vaccine speak to your doctor if you:
A vaccine can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk are usually mild and go away on their own which include:
Sometimes severe problems following Tdap could happen which are rare. These require medical attention as you will not be to able to perform usual activities because of this. These include:
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.