A Shot In Time

I am of an age that can remember standing in line for Dr. Salks’ polio vaccination shots…..both the first and the second.  Oh, the dread.  To be told I was standing in line for a shot…..each child inching closer and closer to THE DOOR…..then being the NEXT IN LINE.  Nothing worse.

Well, now as an adult I can think of something worse: because I didn’t get a booster I catch whatever I was vaccinated for years ago.  Or worse, passing IT along to someone else.

All adults 19 and older should get a booster for tetanus (lockjaw) and diphtheria every 10 years.  The vaccine is called “Td:”.

Adults under 65 who expect to have close contact with an infant younger than 12 months of age (including women who may become pregnant) should get a dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).

All three are caused by bacteria against which you can be vaccinated:

  •  Tetanus infection (lock jaw) causes painful muscle spasms, usually all over the body.  It can lead to tightening of the jaw muscles so the victim cannot open their mouth or swallow.
  • Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat that can lead to breathing problems, paralysis and heart failure. 
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) causes severe coughing spells, vomiting and disturbed sleep.  It can lead to weight loss, incontinence, rib fractures and passing out from violent coughing.

Ouch.  Somehow a quick shot seams more reasonable and a lot less painful for everyone.

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