Friday, May 30, 2014

Whooping Cough/Pertussis and Why should YOU get vaccinated??

Hi ladies! Sorry I've taken a year long blogging break! I didn't realize it had been so long. I've been wanting to mention the topic of whooping cough for awhile now because of the recent rise in this illness and the push for vaccination during pregnancy.

Whooping cough or Pertussis is a serious bacteria that damages the lining of the respiratory tract and causes symptoms that can range from mild cold/cough symptoms in an adult to serious in a baby and more importantly, can be deadly in infants. Unfortunately, there has been a rise in recent years in this bacteria making a comeback likely due to people not vaccinating as much and possibly the vaccine not lasting as long as was originally thought (10 yrs).  Babies less than 6 months old are the most susceptible because their immune systems are less mature and also because their accessory muscles in their chest are not very mature and strong and therefore, they have a harder time coughing and clearing the mucous that develops. Ultimately they cannot get enough air (thus making the whoop sound) and they can deteriorate rapidly and die.

Although no intervention is ever perfect in keeping our babies from becoming ill from this illness or any illness, the best way we have so far is to encourage vaccinating moms, siblings, and close caretakers of these infants. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) along with ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) is advising women get the TDAP vaccine with each pregnancy in the last trimester to help give babies some passive immunity towards whooping cough and to boost mom's immune response in protecting mom against getting the illness and accidently spreading it to her baby. The TDAP vaccine which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (all different bacterias including whooping cough), is a dead vaccine meaning it won't cause illness, but will cause your body to create antibodies against that bacteria. This is the best protection we can offer at this time for your newborns safety until they are old enough to receive their own vaccines and build their strength and immune system.

And of course, we always encourage hand washing, avoiding crowds with your baby, and keeping people with colds and other illness away until they are well. If you have any other concerns about vaccinating with this, please ask your provider. We have this vaccine available at our clinic and offer it to all women in the last trimester of pregnancy!!