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CDC Recommends Expectant Moms Receive Whooping Cough Vaccination
DAYTON -- A new recommendation for pregnant women: For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control says expectant moms should get vaccinated for pertussis, better known as Whooping Cough. Whooping cough has been on the rise in the U.S. since the 1980s, and it's especially dangerous for babies.
Mother Mary-Clayton Enderlein gave birth to a very healthy 9-pound baby boy named Colin.
"Unbeknownst to me, when I kissed him the first time, I passed pertussis right onto him," Enderlein said.
She got pertussis while pregnant after her older son had a play date. Colin survived, but whooping cough killed 194 infants 2 months old or younger between 2000 and last year.
Young mother Kendra Boyette understands the fear.
"My son is 9 months old and has had three colds, and I had a meltdown every time because I didn't know what it was," Boyette said.
Boyette is expecting her second baby, and she plans to talk to her doctor and her son Johnny's pediatrician about whether she should get the shot.
The CDC now recommends that all pregnant women get the T-Dap vaccine during their third trimester. It's a booster for the pertussis shot most people get when they're children. Women should get it with each pregnancy because the vaccine doesn't last a long time. After getting the shot, a pregnant woman's body will create and transfer protective antibodies to her baby before birth.
"The vaccine is most effective two weeks after getting the vaccine, and infants can't get vaccinated until they're about 2 months old," OB-GYN Dr. David Doucette says.
The CDC says there are several things expectant mothers and new parents can do keep their babies safe from pertussis. Get vaccinated while pregnant to give your baby short-term protection in the early weeks when babies are most vulnerable.
Surround babies with a cocoon of protection by asking anyone who is around your baby -- caregivers, siblings, even grandparents -- to get a whooping cough vaccine.
Vaccinate your baby with all five doses starting at age 2 months.
Symptoms of pertussis are much like a cold at first with a runny or stuff nose, sneezing and mild cough. But within a week or two, whooping cough has a very distinctive sound. Its marked by a whoop when a child is gasping for breath after a severe coughing attack.
For more information on pertussis, visit www.pkids.org.
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