23 July 2010

Whooping Cough

I received my whooping cough vaccine today. I knew pertussis, the technical name for whooping cough, was a problem in this county although there has been scant reporting in the newspaper and news media in general.

It is a highly contagious disease that can be deadly to infants, and I'm just around too many children for it to be okay for me to be a carrier.

That said, I had whooping cough in 2007, but I didn't have a clue. That's the problem. It's a cough. Big deal. So the word must get out, and adults and children must get vaccinated.

My case was in early 2007. I actually thought I was having a reaction to my new car's interior. I coughed without being able to catch my breath. These jags would go on for five minutes. The whooping is your natural response to suck in air to your lungs. And at the end of these coughing jags, I would throw up. Classic whooping cough.

Having a few episodes at home, I knew to pull over if I was driving. Well, seriously you can't drive anyway. Also if the coughing happens in the middle of the night, you feel like you're drowning and you can't get air and there is nothing you can do to help yourself. It is very scary. For adults, pertussis is rarely deadly but the coughing can break your ribs. For children, it's a different story.

Babies can die. Babies do die from this disease.

The vaccine, TDaP, as it is called for adults, covers tetanus, aka locked jaw, diptheria, and pertussis, aka whooping cough. It's available at your public health department.

Like most vaccines, it may produce a reaction. But when I weigh the risks of these reactions with risks of these diseases, I think having the vaccine is worth it.

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Thanks for sharing!