Top story on CBS Evening News tonight was regarding the alarming rise of whooping cough cases. If you've never experienced this, trust me, you don't want to, and most espcially you would never want your little precious baby to experience it. Your baby could die.
I contracted pertussis (whooping cough) in 2006 in the months leading up to my wedding. I had constant (as in 24/7) violent fits of coughing...at times to the point of gagging and throwing up while at the same time trying to catch a breath. My ribs hurt so much; I was in physical pain. I could not rest at night because of the coughing. I had to take codeine in order to be able to catch a little sleep. I clearly remember readying to walk down the aisle and praying to high heaven to please keep me from experiencing a coughing fit while walking down the aisle. This went on for months. Yes, MONTHS. As in 3 months before it finally subsided greatly. Although I still had lingering coughing here and there. I didn't work with children at the time and was not in any high risk environments. The dr. said that just going to a movie was enough to be exposed. You can catch pertussis anywhere from anyone.
The BIGGEST misconception is that if you've had pertussis previously, or if you have been vaccinated, that you are immune. NOT TRUE AT ALL.
I know there's a camp that is anti-vaccines and I understand. I'm not jumping up and down to vaccinate my baby either but I have accepted the importance. If you've never experienced whooping cough you have no idea how awful it is. It is like the worst cough you've ever had times 1,000. If you choose to either not get vaccinated (or boostered) or to forgo your baby's pertussis vaccine, I promise you, you will regret it with every fiber if your baby catches this. But it's not just you and baby who need to be vaccinated. It's daddy and grandparents, daycare workers...basically anyone who is in close contact with your baby.
Also, one thing to note. Some drs. are hesitant to diagnose pertussis because pertussis is considered an infectious disease that is tracked by local and state health departments and the CDC. That translates to tracking and paperwork which drs. may not be inclined to want to do. Back when I got it, here in my county there was an issue with this and there were obvious
cases that went undiagnosed on purpose; schools were livid about this. My dr. did report my case and that led to my town health department tracking me periodically by phone. I remember even a year later I still got a follow up call. So if you have symptoms of pertussis and dr. is telling you it's "just" a cold...think twice.
Thanks for reading and I hope you and yours remain free of this!
Here are a few links:
CBS Evening News report:
Public Service Announcement for Pertussis: