What Should You Expect When Your Baby Gets The Dtap Vaccine?
Even if you are following the Center for Disease Control's recommended vaccine schedule to the letter, you still may have some concerns about the safety of the shots for your newborn or toddler. That's normal for parents to have concerns; your pediatric doctor should be willing to answer any questions you have about the general vaccination schedule or any single vaccines.
One of the immunizations that your baby will receive is the DTaP shot, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, also known as whooping cough. This is an important one for you to get on time, because whooping cough is most dangerous for babies under 1 year old. It's also increasing in prevalence, with reported cases rising 15 percent between 2013 and 2014.
History of the DTaP Vaccine
The DTaP vaccine used to be known as the DTP vaccine, and the pertussis component was made from killed whole cells. This sometimes caused more serious side effects, so the current DTaP shot includes acellular pertussis, meaning that the pertussis component is made from selected antigens instead of the entire cell. This makes the new vaccine safer and much less likely to negatively affect your baby.
Side Effects of the DTaP Vaccine
It's likely that your child will experience some side effects from the DTaP vaccine. Your baby's body is mounting an immune response to the inactivated diseases, which can take its toll. Fortunately, the most common side effects are minor and short-lived. They may include:
- Swelling where the shot was administered
- Mild fever
- Mild fatigue or napping for longer periods
- Signs of stomach upset like diarrhea or vomiting
- Muscle aches and headaches
- Swollen glands
Talk to your pediatric doctor if you have any questions about the side effects you are experiencing. Depending on your child's age and size, your doctor may suggest you give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to diminish the fever and aches.
Benefits of DTaP in a Combined Vaccine
To minimize the number of shots your little one has to get at one time, there are combination shots available. One of the most popular is to combine DTap with polio (known as IPV) and Hib.
The combination shots are shown to be just as safe as getting the individual shots. In fact, a recent study looked at more than 14,000 children who got the DTaP-IPV/Hib vaccine and tracked those who continued to get doses, looking for signs of problems that went above and beyond the expected minor side effects like mild fever. In the study, which was published in the journal Vaccine, no safety concerns were noted. So you should feel comfortable getting a combined shot to take care of your child's needs.
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