DPT VACCINE – INTRODUCTION
DPT Vaccine protects against Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus. All three are serious diseases.
Diphtheria (the name comes from the Greek word for “leather hide”) is an acute bacterial infection that usually manifests with sore throat and quickly progresses to fever, headache & loss of appetite. It causes athick gray coating (membrane) at back of the throat, over the tonsils and may involve the nasal septum and the larynx, that makes it hard to breathe and swallow and can result in suffocation and death. The toxins released by germs can damage the nervous system leading to paralysis, heart (myocarditis, heart failure) and kidneys. Though, the incidence of diphtheria has greatly reduced but it has not yet completely wiped out. One in 20 people who get the disease, dies from it.
Pertussis better known as Whooping cough, is a highly contagiousbacterial infection. It starts with features of a common cold but quickly progresses to a severe exhausting cough. The cough comes inprolonged bouts in an explosive manner so hard that, the child has choking during which the child appears unable to breathe & looks anxious. It may last for 6 – 8 weeks and leave the child extremely weak & malnourished because of vomiting associated with cough & the disinclination to eat because of the fear of precipitating bouts of cough. It can lead to complications like pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage and even death. In spite of the easy availability of DPT vaccine, it is seen in India even today.
Tetanus Your child can get tetanus from stepping on a rusty nail or from any kind of cut/puncture wound with a dirty object. The toxin of tetanus acts on the nervous system, which then affects the muscles. It causes painful tightening, severe stiffness and spasms of the muscles, all over the body and particularly of the jaw (lockjaw). This can lead to convulsions, respiratory failure and death. The disease isn’t contagious, but because the tetanus germs live in the soil, it will always be with us. It is a very distressing illness which if not treated promptly can lead to death. 2 in 10 who get tetanus die from it.