Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Whooping Cough

I taught a delightful couple last Sunday who had a good question raised at their pediatrician "Meet and Greet". "Is it necessary for grandparents to have the Tdap or Whooping Cough vaccine?" The answer is a resounding 'yes'". Although I have blogged it before, it needs to be repeated, again.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends whooping cough or Tdap vaccine for anyone who has contact with an infant. Caregivers, help in the home, grandparents, older siblings and parents, for sure. Babies do not receive their first ehooping cough protection until their two month check-up with "shots". And even then, they are not fully protected until six months of age.

Parents who haven't had a booster should ask for it at the hospital after they deliver and before they take their newborn home. Children who are middle school and high school age are particularly susceptible if they haven't been kept up to date with routine immunizations. Consequently, boosters should be given to kids seven to ten years old. Boosters can be obtained at primary care facilityies, some free standing emergency clinics, pediatricians and the health deptartment. I think it's a great idea to pay for your cleaning help to get the vaccine. Ask them to get it at the health department and bring you the receipt. That way, you know that they received it and you can reimburse them for it.

Whooping cough is a potentially epidemic and fatal problem, especially for newborns. The CDC reports 27,550 new cases last year. California had the most cases reported and Massachussetts, the least. I wonder if that has anyth to do with the more universal standards in that state?

There are no hamful effects reported if the booster is given close in time to the commonly administered DT. So make sure that the whooping cough is included as DPT ( pertussis is whooping cough ) and if only DT was given, then ask for an additional Tdap.

Immunizations continue to be a source of debate for a variety of reasons. Check with your provider for the latest recommendations and please comply.