1 Diphtheria, Tetanus, And Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (Intramuscular Route): A Summary

Brand name:

Daptacel, Infanrix, and Tripedia.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine or DTaP is used to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), diphtheria, and tetanus.

These three diseases are very serious and can cause severe effects. The vaccine is composed of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids as well as cells of the organism that causes pertussis.

DTaP is only given to children ages 6 weeks through 6 years. Diphtheria causes heart problems, nerve damage, breathing difficulties, pneumonia, and even death.

Tetanus or lockjaw causes seizures and severe muscle spasms that can lead to bone fractures of the spine. Pertussis or whooping cough causes severe bouts of coughing that can cause breathing problems.

It can also lead to long-lasting bronchitis, pneumonia, brain damage, seizures, and death. DTap should be administered by a trained healthcare professional. It is marketed as a solution.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before you decide to get your child vaccinated, you should talk with your doctor first. You need to tell him or her about any allergies your kid has to food, animals, preservatives, or other medications.

Although this vaccine is only given to babies and children, its effects on those younger than 6 weeks have not been thoroughly studied. DTaP should not be given to geriatric patients.

It has a pregnancy category of C meaning that its effects on pregnant women and the fetus have not been studied well enough. It is the same for breastfeeding mothers.

If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breastfeeding, you need to consider the risks and benefits very carefully.

DTaP should not be given simultaneously with Meningococcal Vaccine, Tetanus Toxoid Conjugate Quadrivalent. Doing so can increase the risk of developing side effects.

If your child has been diagnosed with the following, you should tell the doctor before giving your child the vaccine:

  • bleeding disorders
  • brain disease
  • immunodeficiency disorder/weakened immune system
  • previous serious reaction to a vaccine
  • progressive neurologic disorder

DTaP should not be given to children with those conditions.

3 Proper Usage

This vaccine should be given by a nurse or a trained medical professional. DTaP is administered as an intramuscular shot. The full course is usually 4 or 5 shots.

Make sure that your child gets all of these. If your child misses one, you should make another appointment with the pediatrician as soon as possible.

Other vaccines may be given simultaneously but it should be administered on another site. So if DTaP was given in the left arm, the other vaccine should be given on the right.

Read the information sheets given to you and make sure you understand what is written there. If you have questions, talk to your healthcare provider.

If your child develops a fever or soreness, medications to treat such side effects may be prescribed.

4 Precautions to Take

You need to bring your child to his/her appointments with the pediatrician regularly so that his/her condition is monitored closely. Follow your child’s vaccination schedule religiously.

In the meantime, you need to take certain precautions. Consult the pediatrician right away if your baby has arm or leg weakness which could be signs of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

If you child has had allergic reactions to rubber or latex, tell the healthcare provider. The vial and syringe may have dry natural latex rubber. DTaP should not be used to treat diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis.

Your child will need the proper medications if he/she is suffering from any of those. If your child faints after getting the vaccine, your pediatrician may have to observe him/her before letting you go home.

Inform your pediatrician if your kid experiences any side effects after getting the DTaP including fever, seizures, severe redness or swelling at the injection site and crying that will not stop.

DTaP can also cause apnea. Lastly, tell your doctor if your kid is receiving treatments that alter the immune system like steroids and cancer medicines.

5 Potential Side Effects

DTaP also causes several side effects apart from the desired effects.

Get medical attention right away if your kid has the following:

  • shock-like state
  • crying (3 hours or more)
  • fever with a temperature over 102.2 °F
  • swelling of 4 inches or more at the site
  • seizures
  • severe pain at the injection site

Other effects that need medical attention include:

  • agitation
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • blurred vision
  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • the difficulty with swallowing
  • fast heartbeat
  • hoarseness
  • irritability
  • loss of bladder control
  • loss of consciousness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • shortness of breath
  • unusual drowsiness
  • sneezing
  • a sore throat
  • total body jerking
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Common side effects that may not need medical attention include fever with a temperature of 99.5 °F or more, fussiness, restlessness, and weight loss.

If the condition does not improve, consult your pediatrician right away.

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