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Whooping Cough Highest on Record
DAYTON -- Dayton Children's Hospital says this is one of the worst years they have seen when it comes to whooping cough, also known as pertussis.
Dayton Children's Hospital normally sees less than a dozen cases of pertussis during the summer, but not this year.
"We saw 66 cases of kids and we ended up with one mother with whooping cough," said Dayton Children's Hospital infection preventionist Terrie Koss.
That is the highest number these doctors say they've seen in modern times.
"Yes that is a big concern," said parent Paige Kelly.
"It does surprise me," said parent Jodi Thomson. "I fear it's because a lot of people are trying to be more natural and not get the vaccination. I see their point. But it was made for a purpose and it does seem to control the outbreaks of certain diseases."
Doctor's aren't giving us a reason for the rise but say the highly contagious infection in the lungs can spread to other children and adults through sneezing and coughing very quickly.
There are several things you can do to prevent whooping cough:
Wash hands thoroughly.
Keep children away from anyone who is coughing and sneezing.
Vaccinate your children, teens and yourself. Combination vaccines are used to prevent diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. The DTap vaccination is given to children younger than 7 and Tdap is given to older children and adults.
Children get a dose of DTap at each of the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 15-18 months and at 4 to 6 years.
The preferred age for pre-teen Tdap vaccination is 11 to 12 years old. Adolescents not previously vaccinated should receive a single dose of the vaccine.
Adults who have not previously received Tdap and are in close contact with an infant under 12 months of age should also receive the vaccine.
"Children are miserable with whooping cough," said Koss. "It used to be called the 100-day cough, which means a child or an adult could cough for 100 days with this pertussis, which they could've prevented by getting the vaccines."
The bacteria is most often found in infants and young children but children who are too young to be fully vaccinated and those who have not completed the primary vaccination series are at the highest risk. But unlike most other vaccine-preventable illnesses, the immunity from the pertussis vaccine does wears off, therefore teens and adults are at risk if they were vaccinated as children.
"It is frightening because people assume when you do get a vaccine that everything is going to be OK," said Thomson. "And you never have to worry about that again and then probably by the time they find out there is a problem it's too late."
Doctors say the number of cases they see on a daily basis has decreased since June, but doctors hope the cases drop off completely before school starts in just a few weeks,
What can I do for my child at home?
There are several things you can do to help your child be more comfortable:
Stay calm. Coughing spells can be scary for both you and your child.
Make sure your child gets plenty of rest. Limit your child's activities.
A mist humidifier or vaporizer may be used to help your child breathe easier.
Offer small amounts of fluids often such as 7-up, Kool-aid, water and Jello.
Keep your child away from dirt, smoke and dust since these can cause more coughing spells.
Give the entire antibiotic ordered by your doctor even if your child seems to be getting better.
When should I call the doctor?
You should call your doctor whenever you are worried about your child. Be sure to call if:
Your child seems to be getting worse in any way.
Your child's coughing spells happen more often or become worse.
Your child has a fever of 101.5F or higher.
Your child is not taking fluids well or is not urinating at least four to five times per day.
Click here to read more about whooping cough.
Click here to see the full list of vaccines and what age your child needs to have them done by.
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