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Protect infants from whooping cough with Tdap vaccine

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Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a very contagious and serious illness especially for infants. Cases have been on the rise in recent years, shining light on the importance of the pertussis vaccine.

About one in four hospitalized babies with whooping cough get pneumonia and about two in three babies will have trouble breathing. Whooping cough can be deadly for infants.

The recommendations from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health include:
•If you are pregnant, get vaccinated in your third trimester.
•Surround your baby with vaccinated family members and caregivers.
•Make sure your baby gets his all doses of his whooping cough vaccine according to CDC's recommended schedule.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends you get your Tdap vaccine between the 27th and 36th week of each pregnancy. After you get the shot, your body will create protective antibodies to be passed to your baby before birth. These antibodies provide your baby some short-term protection against whooping cough in early life. Tdap vaccine also combines protection against tetanus and diphtheria.

"Anyone who comes in close contact with your baby, from older siblings and cousins to grandparents and caregivers, should be up-to-date with whooping cough vaccination. Only one dose of Tdap is recommended for most people 11 years and older," the CDC Web site states.

Pregnant women are recommended to receive the vaccine with each pregnancy, however.

In the United States, the recommended whooping cough vaccine for children is called DTaP. This is a safe and effective vaccine that protects children against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough. For best protection against whooping cough, children need five doses of DTaP—one dose at each of the following ages:
•2 months
•4 months
•6 months
•15 through 18 months
•4 through 6 years

Signs of Whooping Cough

"Whooping cough disease starts like the common cold, with a runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and maybe a mild cough or fever. But after 1–2 weeks, severe coughing can begin. Whooping cough can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and you are forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound. In babies, the cough can be minimal or not even there. They may instead have life-threatening pauses in breathing (apnea)," the CDC states.

Where to get your shot

Ask your family doctor about the pertussis vaccine, or check with your local pharmacy, health clinic or walk-in center at local stores. The East Valley Vaccination Center can be reached at 480-833-0554.



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