Get your Tdap Vaccine! That nagging cough….It’s just allergies, right? Well, nagging coughs may be whooping cough, and the best way to protect yourself, and especially any infants in your family, is to get that Tdap vaccine. Now, some causes of cough in older people, certainly can be allergies, asthma, sinus infection, or other things.
Remember that great commercial by GlaxoSmithKline with the grandmother who is coughing so much, holding the baby, and her head is sometimes portrayed as the Wolf? Well, the commercial was to remind us that whooping cough is a nagging cough that older people can have for weeks or more. The older person with whooping cough may not have fever and doesn’t obviously feel badly. But infants can die from whooping cough. In a recent article in Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, the CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, conducted a prospective study which included 115 whooping cough confirmed infants 4 months old or younger and other healthy infants.
All the infants and other family contacts who were over 11 years of age had blood tests for whooping cough. They found that in the kids with whooping cough, over 70% had one or more contacts with prolonged new cough. This was mainly the siblings and the parents. However, if it was the mother who had the new cough, the risk for whooping cough for the baby was the highest. So, what to do? Keep up on your shots, as an adult. If a new baby will be coming into the family, expectant mommies need to follow the recommendations for getting the Tdap. Other family members need to be sure they are current, as well. And if a new cough is progressing for more than a week or two, talk to your doctor. Give that kid a hug, and his whooping cough shot on time!