DTP – The Combination Vaccines

Also known as DTaP, DTP is a combination vaccine that provides immunity against three diseases – Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis. Usually, the vaccine is provided to children of the age 2 months to 6 years as 5 shots after certain intervals. As these diseases are considered fatal, children should be vaccinated as early as possible.

Diphtheria – Diphtheria affects the respiratory tract and can be fatal in most cases. The disease can also infect the skin, and the most prominent feature of diphtheria includes the formation of a greyish membrane that covers the tonsils and upper throat. The causative agent of the disease is Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Though regular vaccination has eradicated diphtheria from many of the developed countries, it is still prevalent in certain parts of the world.

Tetanus – Tetanus is also known as lockjaw disease as it causes the tightening of muscles, and jaw leading to the inability to open mouth or swallow. Tetanus is caused due to the toxin released by Clostridium tetani and affects the central nervous system. Tetanus is fatal as it causes painful muscle contractions and inability to intake food by mouth. Patients suffering from Tetanus are often provided nutrition either through a nasogastric tube or intravenously.

Pertussis – Usually called whooping cough the causative agent of pertussis is Bordatella pertussis. The disease mainly affects the respiratory tract which causes coughing spells leading to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, or death. Pertussis mainly affects young children and is contagious.

  • Who Shouldn’t Be Vaccinated With DTP?

DTP is meant only for children of the age group 2 months to 6 years. Thus, children past the age 7 shouldn’t receive the shots. Furthermore, children who are allergic to any component present it the vaccine should restrain from receiving the drug as the reactions can be severe.

If allergic reactions are seen in children after receiving the first shot, it is advised that they consult an allergist before continuing with the rest of the shots. On the other hand, if children suffer from encephalopathy one week after the vaccination, they shouldn’t be treated with DTP shots but DT (diphtheria-tetanus) vaccine.

Lastly, people receiving anticoagulant therapy are also not advised to receive the DTP drug. In the case of patients with a history of febrile convulsions and fevers, DTP should be given accompanied by acetaminophen.

  • Side-Affects Associated With DTP Vaccine

Rarely, the DTP vaccine has been accompanied by allergic reactions and encephalopathy. Though these are severe conditions, it occurs rarely in some children. On the other hand, the minor side effects caused by the DTP vaccine include the following:

  1. Fever
  2. Drowsiness
  3. Redness, and itchiness at the spot of injection
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Irritability

If the child suffers from any severe allergic reaction other than the minor side effects, it is advised that you get your child to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.

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