Whooping cough cases continue to rise, know how to stay safe


Winter is undoubtedly the busiest season for visits to the pediatrician’s office. Many children suffer from cold, flu and other respiratory problems during winter time. The utmost protection you can provide to your child on time is immunization. Be sure your child’s received the vaccine for preventable illnesses such as diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and meningitis. 

According to latest statistics released by the state Department of Public Health, children have been hit by whooping cough in California. California is on track to break a 55-year record in whooping cough infections, an epidemic that has killed nine babies younger than 3 months.  At least 4,017 cases have been reported in California this year. The state’s record is 4,949 cases, reported in 1955. 

Other states with high numbers of infections include Texas, where health officials reported 1,783 cases, and Ohio, where federal officials reported 1,019 cases. In South Carolina, officials reported one whooping cough death and 255 confirmed or suspected cases. 

About Whooping Cough
Whooping cough, also known as Pertussis is a contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable coughing. The name whooping comes from the noise when people take a breath after coughing. Though anyone can get whooping cough, but it is more common in infants and children. It is caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Among vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring ones in the United States. 

Symptoms of Whooping cough (Pertussis)
The disease starts like the common cold, with runny nose or...

congestion, sneezing, and maybe mild cough or fever. But after 1–2 weeks, severe coughing begins. Infants and children infected with the disease, cough violently and rapidly. 

How Whooping cough (Pertussis) Spreads?
People with pertussis usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing, while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria. 

How to prevent Whooping cough (Pertussis)?
The best way to prevent disease is to get vaccinated. In the US, the recommended pertussis vaccine for children is called DTaP. The vaccine protects children against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. For maximum protection, children need five DTaP shots. The first three shots are given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. The fourth shot is given between 15 and 18 months of age, and a fifth shot is given when a child enters school, at 4–6 years of age. 

Other ways to prevent the disease includes washing your hands or use alcohol-based rubs after touching nasal secretions, and covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.

Source: NPR

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