Not Only Parents, but Grandparents of Newborns Should get a Whooping Cough Booster

We’ve been recommending for a couple of years now that parents of newborns receive a whooping cough booster (Tdap for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)) if it’s been at least two years since their last adult tetanus (Td) booster. For babies born at Enloe hospital, the parents are offered this vaccine before they take the baby home.

Earlier this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics formally recommended that grandparents over age 65 who will be caring for a young baby also get the Tdap booster.

Whooping cough has been on the rise big time the past few years. California was the state the hardest hit last year with 27,550 new cases and 10 deaths in young babies. The immunity from one’s childhood vaccines wears off by the teenage years. Although teens and adults rarely die from it, it can be miserable to have. With whooping cough, one gets into huge coughing fits. It is not uncommon for people with it to cough until they vomit or pass out. People have coughed hard enough to break ribs and puncture lungs and it goes on for weeks or months - it used to be called the 100 day cough for a reason.

The real concern is for young babies, because they are not completely immune until they have had their 2, 4, and 6 month shots, and whooping cough can be fatal in this age group as evidenced by the 10 deaths in California last year

So, make sure everyone in the family who will be caring for a young baby is vaccinated. If your young baby develops prolonged coughing fits until they turn red or purple or just seem unusually sick with a cold to you, please get them in to be seen by their doctor.
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