WHOOOOOP! WHOOOOOP! A recent outbreak of whooping cough here in Yamhill County provides the impetus the Pertussis bacteria can have on both adult and children’s health. Pertussis is highly contagious and easily spread through the air when infected people cough. In adults the infection can cause significant illness including a severe chronic cough lasting up to 3 months. In newborns Pertussis can be life threatening. Nearly 1% of infants who need to be hospitalized die from Pertussis – usually due to pneumonia and seizures.
Most of the serious cases in the US occur in infants younger than 3 months of age. Babies cannot be vaccinated until they are 2 months old, so a newborn is at risk of getting infected until they receive a vaccine. Vaccinating pregnant women helps protect newborns by the passage of immunity across the placenta.
The vaccination is very safe with no known harmful effects on the developing baby. It is maximally helpful if given during the third trimester. All family members and caregivers who will have contact with the newborn should have an up to date Tdap – with any required boosters given at least 2 weeks before the baby is born. Discuss vaccinations for you and other family members with your provider - 503-435-2020.
Paid Advertising Column By Kay E. Case, M.D.
Physician and Surgeon, Women's Health Care
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