Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department encourages all preteens (age 11 or 12) to get their Tdap vaccination. Tdap vaccine protects against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (also called whooping cough). The Tdap vaccine takes the place of what used to be called the tetanus booster. If your teen hasn’t gotten a Tdap shot previously, ask their doctor or nurse about getting the shot now. Also, if you are a parent or grandparent of infant children, talk to your provider about this vaccine. Often infants contract whooping cough from the ones who take care of them.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
TETANUS (Lockjaw) is rare in the United States today.
- It causes painful muscle tightening and stiffness, usually all over the body.
- It can lead to tightening of muscles in the head and neck so you can’t open your mouth, swallow, or sometimes even breathe.
- Tetanus kills about 1 out of 10 people who are infected even after receiving the best medical care.
DIPHTHERIA is also rare in the United States today.
- It can cause a thick coating to form in the back of the throat.
- It can lead to breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis, and death.
PERTUSSIS (Whooping Cough) causes severe coughing spells which can cause difficulty breathing, vomiting, and disturbed sleep.
- It can also lead to weight loss, incontinence, and rib fractures.
- Up to 2 in 100 adolescents and 5 in 100 adults with pertussis are hospitalized or have complications, which could include pneumonia or death.
These diseases are caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person through secretions from coughing or sneezing. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds.
Before vaccines, as many as 200,000 cases of diphtheria, 200,000 cases of pertussis, and hundreds of cases of tetanus, were reported in the United States each year. Since vaccination began, reports of cases for tetanus and diphtheria have dropped by about 99% and for pertussis by about 80%.
If you have questions about Tdap or any immunization, call Melissa Propp, RN Public Health Nurse at (308) 345-4223.
Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department serves Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Keith, Perkins and Red Willow counties.