Whooping cough, also known as Pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial infection. Once infected, it starts with symptoms that seem to be consistent with the common cold. However, within 10 to 12 days, it progresses. It can lead to weeks or months of coughing. It can also result in many devastating complications, such as pneumonia, dehydration, blindness, hearing loss, brain damage, seizures, or death. Infants have the highest risk of dying from this disease.
Those at highest risk, generally are those who have not yet be able to receive a high level of protection after receiving 3 doses of the pertussis vaccine. These include, but are not limited to:
* children with delayed immunizations,
* children who are less than 6 months old
An excellent resource for more information is http://www.soundsofpertussis.com/. Jeff Gordon, of NASCAR, is their latest supporter. Past supporters have included actress, Jennifer Lopez. Watch her touching public service announcement on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LsuJi33B2U (see right). Also, watch one family’s story on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3akJVesMdvs&NR=1.
As always, consult your doctor with any questions you have about this disease and/or its prevention.