Whooping cough or pertussis is a dangerous disease that kills newborn babies every year. It is a preventable disease and can be managed by regular vaccinations and immunization. This is particularly true for pregnant women and those who have children in the family who could also pass on the disease.
Family Members Pass On Pertussis
Pertussis is primarily passed to a newborn baby from immediate family members: two-thirds of all cases are transmitted in this way. While a large number of these cases are caused by a mother being infected by pertussis during pregnancy, about one-third of all cases are caused by siblings passing the infection to their newborn brother or sister after birth.
As a result, it is important for both mothers and the baby's siblings to be vaccinated before it is born. Most children will already have been vaccinated at a young age, but there is a chance they may have missed their schedule. Thankfully it is possible to catch them up and to further protect the baby by getting the mother vaccinated during pregnancy.
Getting Everyone Vaccinated Is Vital For Protecting The Baby
When pregnant, women should get vaccinated for pertussis in the third trimester of the pregnancy. This helps protect them from developing this disease and passing it on to their child. This recommendation has been decided on by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They suggest getting it between the 27th and 36th week of a pregnancy.
There are two types of vaccinations for pertussis. Pregnant mothers receive Tdap, which is for everyone 11 years or older. Newborns will receive the Dtap vaccination. They vary little beyond intensity. This is particularly important to do because the female body will lose some antibodies during pregnancy and will struggle to fight off pertussis effectively.
The Schedule For Vaccination
Pertussis vaccinations for newborns follows a pretty simple schedule. The first dose should come at two months, the second at four, the third at six, and the fourth at 15 months. This should be all the vaccinations they need and getting a newborn vaccinated at this age should help protect them from this disease for the rest of their life.
However, it is also important to "catch up" older children who may have missed their pertussis vaccinations when they were younger. When children are age 7-10, they should receive at least one or two vaccinations to make up for missed doses. They should always receive one between 11-12 years of age and another one or two between 13-18 years of age.
In this way, a child can be protected from the dangers of this deadly disease and live a happy and comfortable early life. Vaccinations also bring peace of mind to the mother and father by allowing them to know that their baby won't get this terrible disease.