Whooping cough, an infectious bacterial disease that affects the respiratory system and causes debilitating coughing fits, is on the rise. According to KCBS, “The highly contagious disease has been found in 1,337 Californians of all backgrounds as of June 30” and the Santa Clara County Publiic Health Department reports that, “In Santa Clara County we have had 53 of cases reported from January 1, 2010 to July 14, 2010, 2010. In 2009, our county had a total of 25 cases reported during the whole year.”
Whooping cough causes coughing spells so bad that it can be hard to eat, drink, or breathe and it can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and possibly even death. The infection typically starts with a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever, and a mild cough that gets worse. It is most infectious during this stage, before the onset of a persistent cough. In order to prevent the spread of this vaccine-preventable disease, whooping cough vaccines are being offered through the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health.
According to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, “Protection from whooping cough – from the vaccine or from the illness – can fade with time. There are booster shots for adolescents and adults. Pre-teens going to the doctor for their regular check-up at age 11 or 12 years should get a booster shot. Any adolescent or adult who comes in contact with infants less than 1 year of age should be vaccinated to keep from getting whooping cough and spreading it to the infant.”
Adults and children over the age of 11 can get Tdap* vaccines from their physicians. If you do not have a primary care physician and you meet the following criteria, you can get a Tdap vaccine from the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health for $15. To qualify, you:
• Must be an adult or are at least 11 years old iving with a pregnant woman or caring for or visiting an infant less than one year of age
• Do not have a healthcare provider or medical insurance
Vaccines are available during these hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:15 a.m.– 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
8:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The vaccine clinic is located at:
976 Lenzen Avenue, Suite 1500
San Jose 95126
Parents of children five and under should contact their pediatrician for advice on the DTaP vaccination.
For more information, visit the Santa Clara County Public Health Department site. It contains audio files so you can hear what whooping cough sounds like at different stages and it contains a link for parents of uninsured children under the age of five.
*To understand the nomenclature of this vaccine, you need to know that whooping cough is also known as Pertussis. The vaccine typically includes protection against pertussis as well as tetanus and diphtheria. The vaccine series given to children under the age of seven is DTaP and the vaccine for adults and children over the age of 11 is TdaP.