This is a vaccine that decreases your risk of getting tetanus, diphtheria or pertussis.
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are three bacterial illnesses that have potentially serious complications. Due to the widespread use of the Tdap vaccine (and other variations of this vaccine) these illnesses are not as common as they used to be.
Tetanus (lockjaw) is characterized by painful muscle spasms that can spread throughout the body. (Muscle spasms in the jaw produce the classic "lockjaw.") The spasms can lead to muscle tears or broken bones. Other symptoms include:
Severe complications include airway obstruction, respiratory arrest, heart failure, pneumonia, brain damage due to lack of oxygen during spasms and death.
Diphtheria is characterized by:
Severe complications are due to the toxins made by the bacteria. They include inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), paralysis, kidney damage and death.
Pertussis (whooping cough) is characterized by:
Complications may include pneumonia, dehydration, ear infections, seizures and death. Severe symptoms and complications are more common in infants younger than age 1.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get the Tdap between eleven and twelve years of age, if they have not already had it. It's also recommended for:
The Tdap vaccine protects against the same diseases as the DTaP vaccine, but it is given to different age groups at different times.
You should contact your healthcare provider if you or your child are not up to date on your Tdap vaccine. Here is a list of questions you can ask about the vaccine.
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