People have a very bad idea of what the disease is. Too often we heard :
"Whooping cough ? Oh yes, it's an annoying cough, but nothing more isn't it...
Each child has to make it sooner or later..."
WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO KNOW
Whooping cough is a SEVERE respiratory infection.
For babies, it can lead to pneumonia, irreversible brain damages, and the death.
The toxins produced are very aggressive and definitely destroy the good functioning of the vital organs: lungs, kidneys, liver … causing at the end a septic poisoning followed by a cardiac arrest.
Non-immunized children and adults can get the disease and spread it out to others, including to non-yet vaccinated babies, and that, only by coughing, sneezing or simply by breathing in the same room.
Antibiotics stop only the infection, but for the damages caused by the toxins, there is no cure at all, and for a baby, that’s tragic.
1 - IDENTIFY THE DISEASE
It starts like a little common cold, sneezing, runny nose, a little bit of fever and occasional cough.
The cough gets uncontrollable and the subject gasps for air, and may choke and vomit.
Some babies don’t cough at all, but their fragile lungs just stop breathing.
Teenagers and adults may only suffer from a banal annoying lasting cough, or show no symptoms at all, just carry the bacterium without being aware that they are infected and so, they can contaminate others.
2 - PROTECT YOUR BABY
There is a deadly danger zone between the birth and the first vaccination shots. Keep coughing people away from your baby during these months.
It’s only one month after the 3rd shot that your baby will have a 90 % protection (5th month in Belgium).
Avoid very busy places such as markets, fairs, shows, you can’t control everything but you can limit the risks of exposure.
There is small percentage of adults and babies vaccine-resistant, so remain vigilant!
If you have doubts about a cough, ask your GP or paediatrician for a test.
Early diagnosis is vital for your vulnerable baby
3 - PREVENT
The only way to prevent the spread of the disease is not to be contaminated oneself. How ?
By getting a booster in due time and renewing it every 10 years.
If you are planning a pregnancy, make sure your Tdap is up-to-date in accordance with CDC's recommendations (see below)
Check if the staff of the crèche of the childcare center is immunized.
A booster is highly recommended to grand-parents as well as to all relatives who will come in contact with the baby, that’s the “cocoon” vaccination.NEVER FORGET : Adults may just have mild symptoms of whooping cough, and think that they suffer from a banal common cold. They don’t realize at that moment that their innocent cough can mean the death for a baby.