Pertussis or whooping cough is a common respiratory infection that is usually acquired by children. However, these days, more and more adult individuals are also experiencing this kind of health problem. Whooping cough is defined as a serious infection that can cause severe coughing spells that can lead to difficulty in breathing. Sometimes the cough produced by this infection can be so hard and severe that it can actually cause the ribs to crack. Some cases can also lead to pneumonia thus requiring hospitalization. Most victims of pertussis are the infants and young children, who are also at risk for serious complications that include death. However, it can also cause mild reactions to adolescents and adults. Fortunately, there is already available pertussis vaccine for adults. Below are more facts about the said disease and as well as the vaccine.
Understanding Whooping Cough or Pertussis
Pertussis is caused by a bacterium called Bordatella pertussis. This was first reported in the 1980s where a number of teens and infants have been infected by the disease. In recent years, several cases of this respiratory infection have been spotted in California, which caused the death of approximately 10 infants. Although there has been a rise in the number of adults and adolescents affected by the disease, most of these individuals only experience mild to moderate symptoms, which are not considered life threatening. However, they are still capable of transferring the disease to infants, who are the ones who can experience serious complications from the infection.
Because of this characteristic of pertussis, it is important for us to know how to identify the different symptoms of the infection. Early symptoms of pertussis are actually very similar to common cough and colds. These include rhinorrhea or runny nose, sneezing and low grade fever. The infection can also cause cough to run for weeks and even months. One of the common signs of whooping cough is the presence of the “whooping” sound that follows every bout of cough. However, this sound is not particularly present in all cases of pertussis.
Learning More about the Pertussis Vaccination
According to the CDC, it requires adults to receive one dose of the pertussis vaccine. This particular vaccine is given in combination with other types of vaccines such as those for tetanus and diphtheria (Tdap). The Tdap should replace one of every 10 year booster doses of Td recommended or advised for adults. Aside from this, the CDC has also issued specific recommendations for specific adult populations. These recommendations include the following:
• All adults who have not yet received any previous Tdap vaccination and who lives in close contact to infants or babies younger than 12 months must be given the said vaccine.
• Healthcare personnel in the hospitals or in the ambulatory care setting who have direct or close contact with individuals who have pertussis and does not have any previous Tdap vaccination, must also have a shot. Priority is given to workers who are always in contact with infants younger than 12 months old.
• The vaccination is recommended immediately to all post partum women who had their first vaccination at least 2 years but is less than 10 years earlier. All women who received their TD booster 10 or more years earlier must speak with their doctors with regards to the receiving of the Td or the Tdap during or immediately following their pregnancy.
• Once a person is fully immunized, he or she is able to acquire up to 85% protection against the pertussis disease.
Ways in Providing the Vaccine
The DTaP and the DT preparations are all given through intramuscular injection via the anterolateral thigh muscle for infants and the deltoid muscle for older children, aged 7 years and above, and adults. All people are actually required to have this vaccination since all individuals can be infected with pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus. In addition to these, routine booster doses are also needed throughout life. Older children and adults without any documented records of having the basic series of shots must receive a primary series of three doses that are properly spaced. A single Tdap dose is recommended for people ages 11 to 64 years old in place of one of the Td doses.
For those people who were not able to get the vaccine or who have started but were not able to complete the series of shots are required to have a 3 dose series of Td that should be given with 1 to 2 months between the first and second dose and 6 to 12 months between the second and third dose. For individuals younger than 65, one of the doses, specifically the first dose must contain the pertussis component in the form of the Tdap. Nevertheless, adults who are older than 65 years old can also get the Tdap.
These are just some of the pertinent facts regarding the respiratory problem known as pertussis. It is important for us to know that taking care of our body and health always starts from knowledge. And it is through knowledge that we are able to provide appropriate treatments and interventions that can help us obtain a successful recovery or outcome from a particular ailment or disease.