How To Protect Your Family Against Whooping Cough
Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease of the respiratory system. It is named after the whooping noise made by sufferers as they gasped for breath after a bout of severe coughing. Whooping cough, also known as Pertussis, is a bacterial infection and therefore responds well to antibiotics. With early diagnosis and proper care, virtually all victims of the disease recover fully. However, if the disease is neglected, it can lead to pneumonia and other potentially fatal complications. The very young, and the elderly are most at risk.
Immunity to the disease is achieved with a series of vaccinations, most often given in combination with the vaccines against diphtheria and tetanus. The present vaccination for Whooping Cough is a much safer version than given in the past, and reduces the likelihood of side affects. A booster shot is recommended for teenagers, as well as for adults, especially those who work with children.
Some parents have decided not to vaccinate their children. There are the rare instances because of a child's specific medical conditions, that the whooping cough vaccination is not advisable. However, the present vaccine is now considered safe for most individuals. If you have a concern about this, discuss it with your child's pediatrician.
The incidence of Whooping Cough is increasing because of the number of children who are not being vaccinated or who are not completing the full course of their vaccinations. It is also increasing because young people, and adults, are not receiving booster shots. This large pool of unprotected individuals is open to infection which can then rapidly spread.
If you think you or your child has been exposed to Whooping Cough, see your doctor immediately. Your best protection against this disease, is to keep the whole family up to date with all recommended vaccinations.