Whooping Cough Vaccine Side Effects

Whooping cough, which also goes by the name of Pertussis, is a very severe disease that causes stark spells of cough that can affect the breathing pattern. Pertussis can also cause long-lasting bronchitis, pneumonia, brain damage, seizures and in some cases death. It used to be a widespread deadly disease before the development of its vaccines. Although vaccines are effective in preventing whooping cough, you should never ignore possible whooping cough vaccine side effects.

What Whooping Cough Vaccine Are Available?

DtaP and Tdap are the 2 chief vaccines developed to prevent whooping cough. DTaP is a combination vaccine prepared for children younger than age 7 and it provides passive immunity against the three lethal diseases caused by bacteria: diphtheria (D), tetanus (Ta) and pertussis (P) – hence the name DTaP. Tdap is a booster shot given to people aging from 11 to 64 that boosts the immunization already provided by DTap earlier in life. This booster vaccination offers sustained fortification from the respective diseases in young and adult life.

Whooping Cough Vaccine and Pregnancy

According to CDC, the whooping cough vaccine --Tdap vaccine -- is recommended and is considered safe for pregnant women and their babies. A shot of Tdap should be considered in all to-be mothers during the third trimester of pregnancy. What's more, Tdap vaccine given to nursing mothers is secreted in breast milk and additionally provides immunity to the infant, thus reducing the chances of pertussis in the new born before he or she even gets vaccinated. So women who plan to breastfeeding or are breastfeeding their babies should get vaccinated.

Whooping Cough Vaccine Side Effects

Every vaccine developed is tested and re-tested by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention before it is approved for inoculation in humans. The vaccines developed for whooping cough are relatively harmless, but side effects may occur in some subjects.

1. Side Effect of DTaP

Before getting any medicine, the benefits of taking it are weighed against the risks of not taking it. Analyzing the DTaP vaccine brings one to the conclusion that it's better to get a shot of DTaP than getting diphtheria, tetanus or a whooping cough. It is because though the whooping cough vaccine side effects vary from a mild skin rash to a severe allergic reaction, it is extremely unlikely for it to cause any permanent medical condition or death.

The common side effects reported after administration of DTaP are as follows:

  • Fever (1 child in 4)
  • Tenderness at site of injection (1 child in 4)
  • Redness or swelling at site of injection (1 child in 4)
  • Fussiness (1 child in 3)
  • Tiredness (1 child in 10)
  • Vomiting (1 child in 50)

These complications usually occur 1-3 days after the shot.

  • Moderate problems (uncommon) like seizure, high grade fever (over 105 °F), non-stop crying and irritability;
  • Severe problems (very rare) like serious allergic reaction, long-term seizures, loss of consciousness or coma, and permanent neuronal damage.

2. Side Effects of Tdap

Mild side effects of Tdap may include:

  • Mild fever
  • Pain, redness or swelling in the arm at the site of injection
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Stomach upset, including nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Swollen glands

When to Get Vaccinated for Whooping Cough

Whooping cough is a tremendously transmissible respiratory infection. Although whooping cough vaccine side effects have been reported, this vaccine is comparatively safe and side effects, if any, are slight. Equating its benefits and side effects, there is no question in stating that each and every child, adult or pregnant women should get vaccinated without second thoughts.

The recommended schedule states:

  • Every child should get 5 shots of DTaP between birth and age 6. In this case, the shot is usually given at the age of 2, 4 and 6 months followed by a shot between 15 and 18 months of age and another when the child is more than 4 but less than 6 years old.
  • Then, for the sustenance of immunity, 2 Tdap shots are needed: one Tdap shot given between ages 11 to 12; another Tdap shot in adulthood, accompanied by one Td booster every 10 years.
  • In case teens and adults (including pregnant women) are never vaccinated before, then they should get a Tdap shot once and then a TD booster every 10 years.

Precautions About Getting Whooping Cough Vaccine

DTaP vaccine should be withheld if:

  • The child is younger than 6 weeks old (as the recommended schedule mentions, an age of 2 months for the first shot);
  • The child has had a severe allergic reaction when he got the vaccine previously;
  • The child presented with severe nervous or brain system reactions within 7 days of getting a DTaP shot last time;
  • Seizure, a fever over 105 °F or non-stop crying for 3 hours was reported after the previous shot. The next vaccine should be given cautiously and must get approval from the doctor beforehand.
  • If the physician suspects that the pertussis part of DTaP is causing the reactions, then a DT shot may be better, which will still protect against diphtheria and tetanus.

If the child is ill at the scheduled day of getting a DTaP vaccine, then it is advised to wait before he is well enough to get his next shot. This is because the child will be in optimal health to tolerate the vaccine and the chances of confusing the whooping cough vaccine side effects with his illness will be minimal.

 
 
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