With the school year about to begin, there are last-minute sales to hunt and supply lists to fulfill. Now is also a good time to touch base with children’s doctors to see if all required and recommended vaccines are up-to-date. For students entering the sixth-grade in particular, the DTaP vaccine is usually required.
“This is a safe and effective combination vaccine that protects children against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis,” explains Ruvim Falkovich, M.D., board-certified pediatrician with Lifetime Health Medical Group. He notes it is often referred to as the “100-day cough” because it can last for weeks and sometimes months.
Pertussis –or “whooping cough”—is a common cause of persistent respiratory illness in the winter months. There have been recent outbreaks of whooping cough and, even though vaccinations are given in infancy, the vaccination can wear off.
Whooping cough starts like the common cold with runny nose, congestion, sneezing, fever and a mild cough. A severe and persistent cough starts after the first or second week. A series of coughing fits can continue for weeks. Whooping cough primarily affects children younger than six months old – before they’re protected by immunizations – and children from the ages of 11 to 18 whose immunity from the infant vaccinations has faded. Many infants who get pertussis are infected by parents or older siblings whose immunity has faded.
“In general, children ages 11 or 12 years old should get a booster vaccine,” says Falkovich. “Additionally, it’s recommended that teens and young adults who didn't get a booster as a preteen get one dose at their next visit.”
Talk to your family’s medical providers to determine whether or not anyone is due for a booster.
This article has been provided by Lifetime Health Medical Group.
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