Whopping Cough? Is That Still Around?

The answer unfortunately is yes. In 2010, 10 infants in California (who were too young to be vaccinated) died of the disease. Over 9,000 people came down with Whopping cough at that time, the most in one year since 1947. Whopping cough (Pertussis) is characterized by coughing spells that can come so closely together that they cause a spasm and prevent you from taking a breath. It can interfere with sleep, work, and eating. Sometimes people cough so much that they faint or even break a rib.

During the deadly outbreak in 2010, public health officials suspected that the increased numbers of parents who refused to vaccinate their children played a role but they could not be certain.

Vaccine refusal was indeed a factor, researchers now say. They compared the location and number of whooping cough, or pertussis, cases in that outbreak with the personal belief exemptions filed by parents who chose not to vaccinate for reasons other than a child’s health.

So why are we writing about this? Well, adults ages 65 and older should get a one-time booster against the disease if they are going to be around newborns and infants younger than age 12 months.  As grandparents, we owe it to our family not to put them at risk!

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