According to Fox 31, the Centers for Disease Control says 2012 will be the worst year of whooping cough in more than five decades.  As of September 22nd, Colorado  had 940 official cases of pertussis, or what most of us know as "whooping cough". ( shows there were42 cases in Larimer County (as of 9/15) and 59 cases in Weld County.)

Who is most susceptible to the illness?

Infants and adolescents, ages 11 to 14 years old get infected the most. And kids are supposed to stay home at least five days after taking antibiotics to avoid infecting other children.

Here are some of what happens to infants hospitalized with whooping cough, according to the CDC:

  • 1 in 4 (23%) get pneumonia
  • 1 or 2 in 100 (1.6%) will have convulsions
  • Two thirds (67%) will have apnea (slowed or stopped breathing)
  • 1 in 300 (0.4%) will have encephalopathy (disease of the brain)
  • 1 or 2 in 100 (1.6%) will die

And here's what can happen to teens and adults with whooping cough:

  • Weight loss (33%)
  • Loss of bladder control (28%)
  • Passing out (6%)
  • Rib fractures from severe coughing (4%)

If you're sick, or someone in your family is sick, get them checked out, get them treated and stay home until you are better! I'll give you a per-emptive "thanks" for doing so.

The story from Fox reminds us that, according to the state, the best way to protect yourself and your family is pertussis vaccination. (Dtap for infants, Tdap for adolescents and adults.) Those who are around children are strongly encouraged to get the vaccination. (I'm looking your way teachers, parents, grandparents and child care workers.)

One of the doctors Fox 31 interview wishes everyone would get the shot.

I want everybody to get vaccinated. It’s kind frustrating when you hear people say they don’t believe in getting their kids vaccinated. That’s fine for you and your kids. But what about the kids they come into contact with?

A doctor interviewed by the Coloradoan agrees,

"It’s more critical than ever for adults of all ages to get vaccinated," said Paul Poduska, infection control coordinator at Poudre Valley Hospital. "We expect to see more pertussis cases as children go back to school and spread the disease from one to the other.

It really  scares me to think of how many infected people my 7-month-old could come in contact with on any given day. The horror stories of complications from pertussis scares the heck out of me!

Early symptoms of pertussis include; runny nose,low-grade fever, mild and occasional cough, and apnea (a pause in breathing) in infants. As the disease progresses these typical symptoms appear: Paroxysms (fits) of many, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched "whoop", vomiting and exhaustion. The coughing can last upwards of 10 weeks! ( In China pertussis is called the "100 day cough.")

This is not something I want to deal with in my household anytime soon!

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