Health Alerts!

News from Health, Posted on Thu, 01/19/2012 - 12:13pm
Girl giving a boy Cough Medicine from OpenClipArt.org

Girl giving a boy Cough Medicine from OpenClipArt.org

The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) among infants, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Prevention: 

Vaccines

The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) among infants, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated. Also, keep infants and other people at high risk for pertussis complications away from infected people.In the United States, the recommended pertussis vaccine for infants and children is called DTaP. This is a combination vaccine that protects against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. For maximum protection against pertussis, children need five DTaP shots. The first three shots are given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. The fourth shot is given between 15 and 18 months of age, and a fifth shot is given before a child enters school, at 4–6 years of age. Parents can also help protect infants by keeping them away as much as possible from anyone who has cold symptoms or is coughing.

The childhood whooping cough vaccine (DTaP) protects most children for at least 5 years.

Vaccine protection for pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria fades with time. Before 2005, the only booster available contained protection against tetanus and diphtheria (called Td), and was recommended for teens and adults every 10 years. Today there are boosters for pre-teens, teens and adults that contain protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap). Pre-teens going to the doctor for their regular check-up at age 11 or 12 years should get a dose of Tdap. Teens who did not get this vaccine at the 11- or 12-year-old check-up should get vaccinated at their next visit. Adults who did not get Tdap as a pre-teen or teen should get one dose of Tdap. Pregnant women who have not been previously vaccinated with Tdap should get one dose of Tdap preferably during the third trimester or late second trimester (after 20 weeks). Pregnant women not vaccinated during pregnancy should receive one dose of Tdap immediately postpartum before leaving the hospital or birthing center. Adults 65 years and older (grandparents, child care providers, and healthcare providers) who have close contact with infants should get a dose of Tdap. Getting vaccinated with Tdap – at least two weeks before coming into close contact with an infant – is especially important for families with and caregivers of new infants.

The easiest thing for adults to do is to get Tdap instead of their next regular tetanus booster—that Td shot that they were supposed to get every 10 years. The dose of Tdap can be given earlier than the 10-year mark, so it is a good idea for adults to talk to a healthcare provider about what is best for their specific situation.

Vaccine protection for pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria fades with time, so adults need a booster shot. Experts recommend adults receive a tetanus and diphtheria booster (called Td) every 10 years and substitute a Tdap vaccine for one of the boosters. The dose of Tdap can be given earlier than the 10-year mark. Getting vaccinated with Tdap is especially important for adults who are around infants. Adults 65 years and older (grandparents, child care providers, and healthcare providers) who have close contact with infants should get a dose of Tdap, following the newest vaccine recommendations.

Remember that even fully-vaccinated adults can get pertussis. If you are caring for infants, check with your healthcare provider about what’s best for your situation.

Pertussis can cause serious illness, hospitalization and death ― especially in infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated. Because vaccine protection fades over time, parents, especially those who will be around infants – need to be revaccinated to protect against pertussis as well as tetanus and diphtheria.

Pregnant women who have not been previously vaccinated with Tdap should get one dose of Tdap preferably during the third trimester or late second trimester – or immediately postpartum before leaving the hospital or birthing center with a newborn. By getting Tdap during pregnancy, maternal pertussis antibodies transfer to the newborn, likely providing protection against pertussis in early life, before the baby starts getting DTaP vaccines. Tdap will also protect the mother at time of delivery, making her less likely to transmit pertussis to her infant. Those around the infant – parents, siblings, grandparents (including those 65 years and older), other family members, and nannies – are encouraged to get the appropriate vaccine (either DTaP or Tdap depending on age) at least two weeks before coming into close contact with the infant.

The best way to protect infants and children from pertussis is to make sure they get vaccinated. The recommended pertussis vaccine for infants and children is called DTaP. This is a combination vaccine that protects children against 3 diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

For maximum protection against pertussis, children need 5 DTaP shots. The first 3 shots are given to infants at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. After receiving those 3 doses of DTaP, most infants are protected, but more shots are needed since this protection starts to fade once they become toddlers. The fourth shot is given between 15 and 18 months of age, and a fifth shot is given before a child enters school, at 4–6 years of age. Parents can also help protect infants by keeping them away as much as possible from anyone who has cold symptoms or is coughing.

For 7-10 year olds who are not fully immunized with DTaP, a dose of Tdap should be received. 

Vaccine protection for pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria can fade with time. Pre-teens going to the doctor for their regular check-up at age 11 or 12 years should get a dose of Tdap, a booster for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Teens who did not get this vaccine at the 11- or 12-year-old check-up should get vaccinated at their next visit. Getting vaccinated with Tdap is especially important for pre-teens and teens who will be around infants.

Pertussis commonly occurs worldwide, even in countries with high vaccination rates. Infants too young to be protected with the first 3 DTaP shots are at greater risk of severe pertussis when traveling to countries where pertussis is common.

Travelers should be up-to-date with recommended pertussis vaccinations before departure.

Spread of pertussis has been documented in various healthcare settings, including hospitals and emergency departments serving pediatric and adult patients, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities.

Healthcare personnel who have direct patient contact should receive a single dose of Tdap if they have not previously received Tdap as an adult. Tdap can be administered regardless of interval since the previous Td dose. However, shorter intervals between Tdap and last Td may increase the risk of mild local reactogenicity. Healthcare personnel include but are not limited to physicians, other primary care providers, nurses, aides, respiratory therapists, radiology technicians, students (e.g., medical, nursing, and pharmaceutical), dentists, social workers, chaplains, volunteers, and dietary and clerical workers.

Tdap vaccination can protect healthcare personnel against pertussis and help reduce transmission to others. Priority should be given to vaccinating healthcare personnel who have direct contact with babies younger than 12 months of age.

Infection

If your doctor confirms that you have pertussis, your body will have a natural defense (immunity) to future infections. Since this immunity fades and does not offer lifelong protection, routine vaccines are recommended.

Antibiotics

Your doctor or local health department may recommend preventive antibiotics (medications that help prevent diseases caused by bacteria) to close contacts, including all household members of a pertussis patient, regardless of age and vaccination status. This might prevent or reduce the chance of getting pertussis. A close contact is anyone who had face-to-face contact or shared a small space for a long period of time with an infected person or had direct contact with respiratory secretions (like from coughing or sneezing) from a person with pertussis.

Online Resources

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