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Friday, December 27, 2013

Whooping Cough: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is a bacterial infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacterium. The illness typically targets a person’s respiratory system. Whooping cough is a common illness in very young infants and children that have not been vaccinated.

It is difficult to diagnose whooping cough during the early stages of the illness because the infection shares many symptoms with the common cold: a runny nose, fever, cough, and sneezing. However, the mild cough progresses into full-blown coughing after a week or two. The more serious coughing fits can last for over a minute, making it difficult to breathe. After a coughing fit, the sick person typically makes a “whooping” sound as he or she gasps for air.

If your child starts to exhibit symptoms of whooping cough, be sure to bring him or her to a pediatrician. The pediatrician will then confirm the disease by taking a history of symptoms or taking fluid samples for a laboratory test. If the presence of whooping cough is confirmed, the pediatrician will prescribe antibiotics.

Fortunately, the disease can be prevented by having your child vaccinated with the DTaP vaccine. Public health officials advise parents to make sure their children have received all five doses of the DTaP vaccine before the child reaches six years of age. The vaccine is readily available in all pediatric practices.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Important Childhood Vaccinations Your Child Needs

Vaccinations are important in preventing the spread of deadly diseases. In fact, they are the reason why the world no longer has to worry about smallpox.

Seeing as the immune systems of young children are still developing, it is important to have them vaccinated for certain diseases that tend to affect children. Here is a short list of the most important childhood vaccinations:

The MMR vaccine protects children from three different diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles). All three are highly dangerous and highly infectious, but can easily be prevented. Recently, cases of measles have been increasing in the United States due to a low vaccination rate, making it even more important for children to get vaccinated.

The varicella vaccine protects a child from contracting chickenpox. It is advised that a child be vaccinated for chickenpox before he or she reaches 13 years of age. Many schools require parents to show proof that their child has been vaccinated for chickenpox before admitting the child to the school.

The flu can cause dangerous complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Although the flu vaccine does not guarantee a child will not contract the flu, studies have shown that the vaccine significantly reduces the chances of a child developing flu complications. According to officials from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, everyone six months of age and older should be vaccinated for the flu every year.
Important Childhood Vaccinations Your Child Needs