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is a highly contagious infection. It can be life-threatening. It is caused by specific bacteria. The germ produces a toxin that can spread from the site of infection to other tissues in the body. Diphtheria usually affects the throat and nose. In serious cases, it may affect the nervous system and heart.
Diphtheria spreads easily from person to person by coughing or sneezing. People nearby breathe in the infected droplets. In rare cases, they come into direct contact with elements from an infected person’s mouth, nose, throat, or skin.
Because of a widespread immunization program, diphtheria is now rare in the United States.
More serious reactions include fever over 102°F (38.9°C), extensive swelling, severe pain, bleeding, and redness in the arm where the shot was given.
Acetaminophen is sometimes given to help prevent pain and fever that may occur after getting a vaccine. In infants, the medication may make the vaccine weak. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking acetaminophen.
For children who have had a seizure in the past, controlling any fever may be important.
Have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine
Suffer from a brain or nervous system disease within 7 days after a previous dose of the vaccine
Have had certain conditions after a previous dose of the vaccine, such as coma or a seizure
Are moderately or severely ill
Talk to your doctor if the person getting the vaccine has any nervous system problems or has had Guillain-Barre syndrome. Also talk to your doctor if your child has previously had a very high fever or nonstop crying after a previous dose of the vaccine.
What Other Ways Can Diphtheria Be Prevented Besides Vaccination? TOP
Prevention depends on getting the vaccine and responding quickly to outbreaks.
Diphtheria. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated September 2011. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Diphtheria antitoxin. Centers for Disease Control and Protection website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated May 13, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated May 17, 2007. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Diphtheria (DTaP, Tdap, Td). Immunization Action Coalition website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated January 28, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated January 29, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Tdap vaccine: What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated May 9, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2013.
10/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Prymula R, Siegrist C, et al. Effect of prophylactic paracetamol administration at time of vaccination on febrile reactions and antibody responses in children: Two open-label, randomised controlled trials. Lancet. 2009;374(9698):1339.
11/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Updated recommendations for use of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) in pregnant women and persons who have or anticipate having close contact with an infant aged <12 months—Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011;60:1424-1426.
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