As each day passes I’m realizing how little I have done in preparation for this baby! I can’t believe it’s already November and the holidays are right around the corner – I need to get moving!
I have a lot of work to do in our house such as painting the nursery and getting all of the baby furniture – but something that more pressing is to make sure I’ve done everything I can for my health to protect my fragile one when he or she arrives.
Working at a children’s hospital gives me a very good perspective on the importance of immunizations and protecting all children (and adults) from very dangerous illnesses. Of course, the flu vaccine was a no-brainer for me and I got my shot at 8am the first morning it was offered to staff here at Dayton Children’s – the other immunization that is extremely important, especially this year, is the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) – particularly for the deadly illness, pertussis. This vaccine, once given, usually lasts 7-10 years for adults.
Pertussis, sometimes know as the whooping cough – is an infection of the respiratory system caused by bacteria. A key symptom is a severe coughing spell that ends in a “whooping” sound when the person breathes in – although there are many other symptoms that are similar to the cold or flu.
Before a vaccine was available, pertussis killed 5,000 to 10,000 people in the United States each year. Now, the pertussis vaccine has reduced the annual number of deaths to less than 30. But in recent years, the number of cases has started to rise again. This year there have already been quite a few deaths throughout the country, California in particular, and we have seen a spike in cases here at Dayton Children’s.
Pertussis is highly contagious. The scariest thing to me is that older siblings, parents and grandparents are typically those who give the disease to infants and toddlers.
I’m not going to take any chances!
Earlier this week my parents and in-laws received and e-mail from me encouraging them to not only get their flu shot but also the DTaP vaccine. My husband just got his shots last week.
I know it’s going to be a challenge to protect my little one from every possible illness and injury– but taking some specific steps is a step in the right direction for me!