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Whooping Cough—an Epidemic

Whooping cough, measles, and Ebola, oh my. There has been a trend nationwide recently to not vaccinate children. As a result, diseases such as measles and whooping cough are making a comeback. Whooping cough has already been in several local schools. What do you need to know? What can you do to stop it? Other than getting vaccinated, read this article to learn what you can do.

What is whooping cough?
Whooping cough is a highly contagious illness caused by a bacteria known as Bordatella Pertussis. It is classically characterized by severe cough, often to the point of passing out or becoming hypoxic (low on oxygen). In young infants and high-risk other individuals, it can be quite severe. In children and adults who have been vaccinated, it often acts like the common cold, causing mild non-productive cough with no fever or other symptoms. Get vaccinated.

How do I know if I have it?
Only your doctor can tell you if you or your child has pertussis. In order to definitively diagnose this, a nasal swab must be collected by your doctor's office. The illness is difficult to detect in vaccinated individuals because it is typically a very mild cold. Therefore, it is easily spread. The illness is spread by respiratory droplets of an infected individual who coughs. Get vaccinated.

How is it treated?
If your provider suspects you may have this illness, you will be placed on 5 days of antibiotic therapy of azithromycin. During these 5 days, you will need to stay in isolation, meaning you cannot be around other individuals and cannot go to work or school. After being treated for the 5 days, you are no longer able to spread the disease and so can then go back to normal activity. Over-the-counter cough medications can be used as needed and as directed by your doctor. Did I mention that you should get vaccinated?

VACCINATE YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILDREN. I cannot stress this enough. Please do not put yourself and others at risk. Get the recommended vaccines as early and as often as necessary and recommended. If you are not sure if you are up-to-date on your immunizations, contact your doctor's office. This disease, as well as many others, is easily preventable (or less severe) by getting vaccinated. Whooping cough is preventable by getting a TdaP shot (Tetanus, diphtheria and Pertussis). If you do not remember the last time you got a tetanus shot, now is the time to do it. Contact your doctor's office today and GET VACCINATED!!!!!!!!

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