This vaccine helps to protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (which is more commonly known as whooping cough). The immunization schedule for this shot is as follows: it is first given when your baby is about two months old, then again at four months, six months, 18 months, and lastly, between the ages of four and six. After the age of seven, people continue to receive a Td booster every 10 years, which protects against tetanus and diphtheria. It is usually administered through an injection.

Diphtheria is a potentially fatal disease. It is an acute bacterial infection that affects the throat, skin, and nose. It can lead to respiratory problems, heart failure, paralysis or even death.

Tetanus is another bacterial disease. Since it attacks your nervous system, it causes severe muscle spasms. It can even lead to death.

Pertussis is a very infectious disease that is characterized by severe coughing. Also known as whooping cough, it received its name from the sound that people make when they try to take a breath during or after a coughing fit. Because of the severe coughing, people who are infected may find it hard to breathe, eat or drink. Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, severe ear infections, brain damage, dehydration, and possibly death.

Depending on the type of vaccine, DTP may also be combined with other vaccines to also guard against polio and hemophilus influenzae b or Hib. Additionally, you may hear this vaccine referred to as DTaP. This refers to the pertussis immunization, which is now commonly made with an acellular vaccine (meaning that only part of the pertussis bacteria is used). The acellular pertussis vaccine has been found to be just as effective as the regular whole-cell vaccine but with fewer adverse reactions. It is increasingly becoming standard practice to use DTaP vaccines instead of the older variety.

DPT may also somehow protect your child from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A study done at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Bristol, England showed that babies who had been vaccinated had a lower chance of dying from SIDS than those who weren't immunized with DPT.

Before you take your child for his vaccine, learn about minimizing potential risks and read about some of the reactions you might expect after your child has had the vaccine.