In Californian infants there is an epidemic and it’s sweeping the one year old and younger crowd. Whooping Cough or pertussis is nothing to sneeze at. In fact the whooping cough cases sweeping California are particularly prevalent among Hispanic and Latino babies; nearly 80% of all reported cases since 1998. But what is this strange disease? How does one get whooping cough? How can whooping cough be prevented? Where can concerned families go to learn more?
Whooping Cough: What it is: On the surface whooping cough can be particularly non-descript; which should be particularly concerning. Whooping cough happens in infants one year and younger and it generally will start out with just the cough. The cough will quickly grow into a much more pronounced cough which can go on for weeks. Vomiting with coughing is one of the tell-tale signs of whooping cough and while most antibiotics which are given after the symptoms present themselves aren’t very effective, if your child is around other children it’s a good idea to get these medicines as they help prevent spread.
Whooping Cough: How it’s transmitted: Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease. Whooping cough can make it hard for an infant to breathe and infants who have whooping cough should be taken in to their doctor immediately.
Whooping Cough: Prevention: Vaccinations are available for whooping cough; according to an article in the Napa Valley Register, more than 400 extra vaccinations are being ordered presently in that community alone to deal with the anticipated increased demand.
Whooping Cough: Learning More: One of the glaring statistics is the 80% Latino number on this report. It would behoove all Hispanic parents in California to have their children vaccinated before whooping cough sets in.
Whooping Cough Epidemic in California: According to that report in the Napa Valley Register, there is a great deal of concern from health officials as well as from parents about the contraction and spread of the whooping cough disease among young folks. Jennifer Henn, epidemiologist for the Napa County Public Health said “We are very concerned about young infants, and that’s where we see the most severe disease.”
Adults can get whooping cough but according to director of nursing for Napa County Health and Human Services Laura Keller, the low number of reported cases is “misleading” because adults symptoms are so mild they never seek medical attention.
Henn made another observation that all parents of infants as well as caregivers and health workers should get immunized because even if the adult doesn’t know that they have it, the bacteria can still be transmitted to infants they come in contact with.
Whooping Cough: Conclusion: Napa Valley is doing everything it can and if you’re in California you should too. You can check the Napa County Public Health Division offices for information about where to get free vaccinations for your child in and around that region. If you’re elsewhere in California, make sure to reach out to your local hospital or public health office and see what they can tell you.