Protect Your Infant from Whooping Cough with Timely Immunizations

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., ACCESS Media Relations Specialist
April 20, 2017

 

Join us in observing National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) which promotes the benefits of immunizations to improve the health of children two years old or younger on April 22-29, 2017. NIIW highlights the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and the role parents can play to ensure their children are protected.

One of the most important things that Chicago areas parents can do to protect their children's health is to get them vaccinated. Evidence states that vaccinated individuals have decreased disease severity and reduced illness duration. With nearly 12,000 infants born in the United States every day, timely immunizations, before age 2, are vital for protection against potential exposure to life-threatening diseases.

One of these life-threatening diseases is pertussis (whooping cough), which can cause serious illness in infants, children, teens, and adults. Infants are at greatest risk for getting pertussis and may suffer serious complications, including death. About half of infants younger than one year old who get pertussis need care in the hospital; and even then some don’t survive.

Here are the early signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
  • Mild, occasional cough
  • Apnea – a pause in breathing

In its early stages, pertussis appears to be nothing more than the common cold. Therefore, it is often not suspected or diagnosed until the more severe symptoms appear.

After one to two weeks as the disease progresses, the traditional symptoms of pertussis may appear and include:

  • Fits of many, rapid coughs followed by a high pitched "whoop"
  • Vomiting during or after coughing fits
  • Exhaustion after coughing fits

While recovery from pertussis is possible, it happens slowly; the cough becomes milder and less common. However, coughing fits can return with other respiratory infections for many months after the initial pertussis infection began. For this reason, prevention through vaccination is recommended.

Without vaccination, children are at greater risk of getting a serious pertussis infection and then possibly spreading it to other family or community members. One vital component of vaccines is their ability to “safeguard against the spread of infection, which benefits the community and public health," said Daneen Woodard, M.D., ACCESS Regional Medical Director. "Together, we can wipe out vaccine-preventable diseases and protect future generations."

Immunizations are one of the safest, most effective methods of disease prevention. Visit our website to find your any one our Chicagoland ACCESS health centers and schedule an appointment to update vaccines for your child or children.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/signs-symptoms.html

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/overview.html

http://www.whathealth.com/awareness/event/nationalinfantimmunizationweek.html