DIPHTHERIA, TETANUS & PERTUSSIS

DTap FACTS

Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial disease, which is passed person-to-person. It causes a thick membrane to form on the back of the throat leading to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and in severe cases death.

Tetanus, most commonly called “lockjaw”, is a bacterial disease that is categorized by the painful tightening of muscle tissue, which can lead to victims’ inability to open their mouth or swallow. It enters the body through cuts or wounds and leads to death in 2 out of 10 cases.

Pertussis, most commonly called “whooping cough”, is a contagious bacterial disease, which like diphtheria is passed person-to-person. It results in a cough so bad that infants are unable to eat, drink, or breathe. Pertussis can result in pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and even death.

Who should get vaccinated?

Children should receive 5 doses of DTap at the following ages:

  • 2 months       

  • 4 months     

  • 6 months     

  • 15-18 months        

  • 4-6 years

 

Children who should not receive DTap include:

  • Children with moderate or severe illnesses should wait to recover before getting the vaccine.

  • Children with a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of DTap should not get another dose.

  • Children who have suffered a brain or nervous system disease within 7 days after a dose of DTap should not get another dose.

  • Consult your doctor if your child:

    • Had a seizure or collapsed after a dose of DTaP

    • Has cried non-stop for 3 hours or more after a dose of DTaP

    • Had a fever over 105⁰F after a dose of DTaP

DTap is not licensed for adolescents, adults, or children 7 years of age and older. However, older people still need protection and therefore should receive a single dose of the Tdap vaccine.

Adults who should receive the Tdap vaccine include:

 

  • People 19 years or older who have never received the vaccine

  • Health care professionals who have direct contact with patients

  • Caregivers of infants under 1-years-old, including parents, grandparents and babysitters

  • People who travel to countries where these diseases are common

For more information on DTap vaccination call your local or state health department’s immunization program or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by calling 1-800-232-4636 or by visiting www.cdc.gov/vaccines.

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