It’s no fun to hold your baby as he receives his immunizations–and the possible side effects (low fever, pain at the injection site, crankiness) aren’t fun either, for parents or babies. But the Centers for Disease Control is reminding parents to keep up on their children’s vaccinations. When immunizations are delayed or neglected altogether, children’s immunity to serious diseases is threatened.
In many parts of the U.S., a disease known as whooping cough or pertussis is making a comeback. An epidemic of this disease has already been declared in Washington State. Minnesota and Wisconsin are also reporting very high rates of this disease. The highest rates of pertussis were found in infants under 1 year of age, 10-year-old children, and young teenagers. The best way to prevent pertussis is to regularly vaccinate your child.
Whooping cough begins as a mild cold with a low fever, but after 1 to 2 weeks, severe coughing fits can begin. However, in infants, the coughing may never occur; instead, episodes of apnea may appear in which the child stops breathing for a short time. Pertussis is very dangerous in infants. It is a very contagious disease that is spread through person-to-person contact including coughing or sneezing.
The CDC recommends that parents make sure that the vaccinations for their children, no matter what their age, are up-to-date to ensure the highest rates of immunity to pertussis and other serious diseases. No vaccine is a 100% guarantee, but vaccinations are the most effective means of prevention.
Image credit: CDC