Not DPT’ized
Thursday November 05th 2009, 6:13 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

The rest of the story.

Memories: of being first-time parents, scared, holding our very, very sick six-month-old, trying desperately to get her fever down.  Nighttime.  On the phone with the doctor, sorry to bother him, grateful that he was as concerned as we were. The cool-but-not-cold bath on his advice, after Tylenol proved useless, that brought her down to 104 from 105.4, but that temp just refused to budge more than that.

She’d been given her DPT shot that day.

There are people who wonder if their kids will react to their shots, and for most, they learn there’s nothing to worry about.  (Please: there will not be a debate here about the alleged autism thing.  I have too much of a scientific background to give it any credence.) We were one of the unlucky few for whom the DPT was actually a problem.  The pediatrician had no doubt it was the Pertussis part of the shot at fault, and insisted she not be given the full trio again.

So, K-12, we knew that if any other child at her school should test positive for whooping cough, our kid was the one who was going to be isolated at home by order of the school district (and common sense). Okay; you do what you have to do.

Which is why when our youngest was born, the Stanford researcher who knocked tentatively on my maternity-ward door in ’88 was surprised at how fast I said yes when she asked if we were interested in enrolling him in a study of a new, acellular DPT shot after she explained that, so far, two million Japanese two-year-olds had been given it without one single reaction ever.  But it had never been given to infants.  Did we want in?

Heck YEAH!!!

That acellular vaccine is now the standard shot.  It has meant that there is less genetic material for any child to hyper-react to like ours did, while still being immunized.

You’re welcome. And thank you for providing herd immunity for our oldest in return.

After all those years of knowing there were all these what-ifs…

Thank goodness for the astute doctor who recognized a rare disease.  And for the fact that it’s safer in adults.

Whooping cough in one’s late 20’s.

Now the trick is for her not to get swine flu on top of it.

17 Comments so far
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Even without a severe reaction like that, it was a sweet relief to have my firstborn past the stage of getting DPT, and only getting DT. There was SO much less agony afterward.

You know, they now think that we “old foggies” who got our DPT over 50 years ago my no longer have any immunity. Scary thought, eh?

Comment by Barbara-Kay 11.05.09 @ 8:38 pm

Ah – pertussis as an adult! I was fully immunized and still came down with it about 13 years ago. It was not diagnosed until too late to treat (my allergist identified it after a week of prednisone that did nothing for my ‘asthma’ flare).

It may be ‘easier’ on adults but… well, a few episodes of not being able to breath had my whole family scared!

yes – immunity wanes for pertussis which is why they have a new (2+ years old) immunization – Tdap – for anyone 10(11) – 64 yrs old.

Pertussis, and it’s after effects, last so long – and that is one of the biggest hassles with it.

Congrats to that doctor for recognizing it for what it was!

Comment by wildknits 11.05.09 @ 9:23 pm

When Amalie and I became engaged, I asked her, “What about children?”

“What! At MY age?” She was 40, so we never had any kids of our own (Cliff is adopted)over whom to worry.

But when I was a youngster, I was the sickly one. Took a long time to get over it.

Humor –

More Punnies:=
The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work. 

To write with a broken pencil is pointless. 

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate. 

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months. 

A thief fell into wet cement. He became a hardened criminal. 

Comment by Don Meyer 11.05.09 @ 9:28 pm

Fascinating! I had the exact same experience with the DPT shot as an infant (this was 1968). Dangerously high fever and an ER visit.

Since we weren’t sure what I had reacted to, for my last tetanus shot 10 years ago, my doctor split the vaccine in half and I took two doses two weeks apart. Not a bad reaction, though I think I was feverish with the second.

I’m obviously due again for tetanus this year. With an apparently healthy adult immune system (and not getting the petussis portion of the shot), I might just go for the one shot, taking some minor precautions (ibuprofen and possibly Benadryl). Your post will certainly make me research the differences between 1968 and 2009!

Comment by Deb Bouchard 11.05.09 @ 11:08 pm

Ems and I both (probably) had mild but miserable cases of whooping cough a few years ago when large outbreaks were confirmed in Europe. Barbara-Kay, I bet your body has been challenged several times over the years, each time giving you periodic immunity. Alison, once your gal gets over this, she’ll be even stronger (some consolation, though.) As for autism, the NYTimes had a great quote recently: “ People say that in autism, everybody is a snowflake,” That makes it frustrating, maybe even impossible, to generalize triggers/causes/manifestations.

Comment by LynnM 11.06.09 @ 1:21 am

No Swine Flue allowed in your family…. absolutely none!!! My kids always spiked a temp after their shots which meant sleepless nights and trying to get them to stay in the tub long enough to bring the temp down.

Comment by Joansie 11.06.09 @ 5:52 am

Oh My! At least she’s home with Mom & Dad, that always helps! Take care of you both 🙂

Comment by TripletMom 11.06.09 @ 6:57 am

Here’s to all of you staying healthy and happy!

And thank you for your open mind and belief in something other than “what-ever-has-always-been-done”.

Comment by Suzanne in Mtl 11.06.09 @ 7:21 am

Oh goodness… Wishing her a speedy recovery, but more importantly, no complications.

Comment by Channon 11.06.09 @ 7:28 am

I had chicken pox at age 28. I caught it from my older brother. Childhood diseases at adult age are not fun!
My son had them at age 2, just before we were going for the vaccine, so that solved that. Knock wood – no major reactions here…

Comment by Sandra 11.06.09 @ 8:16 am

Oh, yuck. I had pertussis as a child- I think because I would have gotten the immunization before school, but I hadn’t started kindergarten yet. I don’t really remember it, but I remember my mother telling me about it when I was older. And I caught chicken pox from the kids of a (former) old friend of my parents. “Gee, maybe I should have mentioned they were feverish.” (My mother was livid. She was even more pissed off three weeks later when she was stuck with a bored seven-year old who was filled with energy but not allowed to go back to school yet, and a miserably sick toddler (my sister).) I don’t think the chicken pox vaccine was widely available then *checks Wikipedia*–no it seems to have come in quite a bit later. Just missed the boat all around! I’m sure my mother would have rather I’d had the shots and not the diseases.

Poor Michelle! Hope she’s taking it easy and will feel better soon.

Comment by RobinH 11.06.09 @ 8:46 am

Yes, one of our children wasn’t allowed the pertussis shot either. It was a constant worry–either way, actually. Wonderful that they’ve now developed a safe injection. Thank you for your contribution to its testing in the initial stages, Alison. Life’s good! I hope your daughter feels better soon!

Comment by Karen 11.06.09 @ 9:25 am

Actually, it’s Sam in Vermont with the whooping cough.

Comment by AlisonH 11.06.09 @ 10:41 am

Oh, no! She has whooping cough? That’s no fun at ALL! I hope she feels better very soon. It’s funny you should write this now, as I’m walking around with a VERY sore arm from receiving my tetanus booster, with the pertussis add-on (they come together these days); it was the pertussis that my doctor was most worried about, since I’m constantly exposed to the target population, which she said is 20-40, to my great surprise.

Comment by Jocelyn 11.07.09 @ 1:42 pm

I hope she feels better very soon.

Comment by Sonya 11.07.09 @ 2:09 pm

Thanks for pointing out the social good of herd immunity. Sometimes the right thing is taking a little risk on ourselves to prevent someone else from having to take a huge risk.

Comment by twinsetellen 11.12.09 @ 9:30 pm

WOW. Late comment…but just catching up on blogs. As a scientist I send my thanks to you for realizing what an impact you can have when trying to make things better for not just only your children, but everyone else’s.

Comment by Alicia 11.16.09 @ 11:11 am

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