• By Felicia Stewart
  • Posted Monday, September 16, 2013

Protect Yourself from Whooping Cough, Get Tdap!

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a serious respiratory illness that causes severe coughing spells that can lead to difficulty breathing, vomiting, pneumonia and even death. The cough can last for months and is sometimes referred to as ‘the 100 day cough.’ Since January, Forsyth County has had more than 100 cases! The State is working closely with the Forsyth County Health Department to help stop the spread of this illness, now it’s your turn to help!

Pertussis is highly contagious from one person to another by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others. Some people can have the illness and not know. The disease usually is much worse in infants than adults, and infants are much more likely to die from the illness. Babies do get shots called Dtap to help protect them but the series isn’t completed until just before kindergarten. Students entering 6th grade are required to get a Tdap to protect them from pertussis. Unfortunately, many adults are unprotected! These adults can unknowingly expose babies and school aged children to this dreaded disease.

The Tdap vaccine, which came out in 2005, is routinely given to children around age 11 or 12. Adults who have not had this immunization should get it as soon as possible. Tdap is especially important for those having contact with infants or children including new parents, grandparents, babysitters, teachers and healthcare professionals. Being vaccinated against whooping cough not only protects yourself, but those around you.

Due to the whooping cough outbreak in our area, Tdap is available to anyone who has not had it at no out of pocket expense regardless of insurance status for a limited time. Come to Clinic 3 in the Forsyth County Dept of Public Health located at 799 N. Highland Avenue, Winston Salem, during the following hours:

  • Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 8:30 am - 3:45 pm
  • Thursday 9:30 am - 6:45 pm
  • Friday 8:30 am - 11:45 am

For more information, visit Sounds of Pertussis, the NC Immunization Branch website or call (336) 703-3249.

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