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The DTaP vaccine: Schedule, Usage & Recommendations


The DTap vaccine, a shield against 3 potentially fatal diseases, Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Whooping Cough). It is a combination vaccine and a modified one at that. Its predecessor, the DTP vaccine was known to have a very high reaction rate in babies and was hence, removed. DTap has less than a 15% reaction rate and is an ideal vaccine in terms of immunization from the three diseases.


Diphtheria


A respiratory disease from hell, Diphtheria is an infection of the throat and upper airways. It causes breathing ailments and in some advanced cases, paralysis, heart failure and even death. Diphtheria in India, is endemic and erupts in small outbreaks. The mortality rate drops with age, leaving infants, high and dry, at the risk of death almost inevitably.


Tetanus


Tetanus is caused by a bacteria present in soil and metal, primarily, that causes spasms and in worst cases, paralysis. The painful tightening of the muscles is characteristic of the disease; This leads to a phenomenon called lockjaw that causes suffocation which can result in death. Tetanus is quite common in India and little kids don't stand a chance against this monster.


Pertussis


A respiratory disease on the lines of Diphtheria with a little distinctness. The dissimilarity being the sound an affected individual makes while coughing, giving it the infamous common name, 'whooping cough'. It is the most common of the three diseases not only in India but in the world.


If it isn't established already, DTaP is imperative to your little one's well being. It should be administered at whatever cost and the doses should be followed through with.


It is completed in 5 doses:


1. First dose at 2 months


2. Second dose at 4 months


3. Third dose at 6 months


4. Fourth dose between the months of 15 to 18


5. Fifth dose between the ages of 4 to 6


However, they are certain children that should not be given the DTaP vaccine:


1. Children who are ill on the day of their vaccine appointment, should wait until they feel better and then take it.


2. Children who suffer a severe allergic reaction from their first dose should opt out of other doses of DTaP.


3. Children who suffer a nervous system disease by the 7th day of receiving the vaccine should never take up the vaccine again.


4. Children who have a bad reaction to the Pertussis vaccine should opt for DT alone.


The risks associated with DTaP are very minimal and should not get in the way of administering the vaccine to your little one, as the contraction of these grave diseases is very plausible.


Do call in the doctor if your baby exhibits any of following symptoms:


1.Difficulty in breathing


2.Wheezing


3.Paleness


4.Weakness


5.Rapid heartbeat


6.Hives


Some symptoms like nausea, fever and redness at the site of the shot are common and not a thing of concern. Administering the vaccine doses, on time, diligently is crucial. Other vaccines your child needs to take up during his infancy are OPV against Polio, BCG to fight Tuberculosis and Hep B for steering clear of Hepatitis B.


Mothers, your child's future rests in your hands, here's your chance to make it a bright one. Vaccination is the way. Happy Parenting!


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