Diphtheria is caused by bacteria which found in the mouth, throat and nose. Diphtheria causes of membranes in the throat. This makes difficulty swallowing, breathing and even can cause shortness of breath. The bacteria produce toxins that can spread throughout the body and serious complications such as paralysis and heart failure. About 10 per cent of people who suffer from diphtheria die from it. Diphtheria can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing from an infected person.

Tetanus is caused by bacteria found in the soil, dust and fertilizer. Bacteria can enter the body through wounds that may only be as small as a pinprick. Tetanus cannot be transmitted from person to person.

Tetanus is often a fatal disease, which attacks the nervous system. Tetanus causes tics that are initially felt in the neck and jaw muscles. Tetanus can cause breathing difficulties, painful spasms and abnormal breathing rhythms. Because of effective immunization, tetanus is now rare in Australia, but it still occurs in people who have not been immunized against this disease or have not received a booster vaccine

Whooping cough

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that affects the airways and breathing. This disease causes coughing spasms. Between these spasms, the child gasps for breath. Seizures are often followed by coughing up vomiting and coughing can last for months. Whooping cough is very serious in infants under 12 months of age and often requires hospital admission. Whooping cough can cause complications such as bleeding, spasms, pneumonia, coma, inflammation

brain, permanent brain damage and long-term lung damage. Around one out of every 200 children under the age of six months who have a coughing spasm will die. Whooping cough can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing from an infected person. Parents and family members is a major source of infection for babies.

Diphtheria-tetanus-whooping cough immunization

Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough can be prevented by administering a safe and effective combination vaccine. This vaccine contains a small amount of diphtheria and tetanus toxins that are modified so that it is not dangerous. This vaccine also contains part of pertussis bacteria that is purified with a small amount of antibiotics and preservatives.

Children should be given a booster dose of this vaccine at the age of 18 months. Possible side effects of diphtheria-tetanus-whooping cough vaccine Reactions to the diphtheria-tetanus-whooping cough vaccine are very less frequent than complications that disease.

Common side effects:

  • irritability, cry, anxiety and generally unhappy
  • drowsiness and fatigue
  • low fever
  • redness and swelling at the injection site
  • small temporary swelling at the injection site

Uncommon side effects:

  • large local reactions.

Sometimes the dose of the diphtheria-tetanus-whooping booster vaccine can cause a very local reaction

large reddish and swollen limbs.

This reaction must be reported to the immunization provider and may require a visit to the doctor.

Rare side effects:

  • large local reactions.

If a mild reaction occurs, this might take a day or two. Side effects can be reduced by:

  • place a cold, wet cloth on the affected injection site
  • give plenty of water to drink and don’t wear thick clothes if the child has a fever
  • give the child paracetamol to reduce the discomfort (pay attention to the recommended dosage

for your child’s age

  • If the reaction is severe and persistent, or if you are restless, contact your doctor or hospital.

Pre-immunization list

Before your child is immunized contact your doctor of the following

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