Stop whooping cough, get vaccinated

Opinions Staff

Vaccinations are one of modern medicine’s greatest achievements. They prevent diseases and ailments that in previous generations would have been a death sentence.

But parents must ensure that their young children, who are most prone to disease due to their underdeveloped immune systems, receive vaccinations to keep easily preventable diseases from making a comeback.

In recent years, Kentucky has seen a gradual increase in cases of pertussis, commonly known as “whooping cough.” The highly contagious respiratory disease causes fits of violent coughing that can make breathing difficult, making the disease potentially deadly for infants and the elderly.

Early symptoms of “whooping cough” often resemble symptoms of the common cold, so it’s easily misdiagnosed, or unsuspected, until more severe symptoms develop.

The vaccination for “whooping cough” was discovered in the 1940s, so it might seem odd that from August to December, there were 87 cases reported across Kentucky, according to a report from the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The areas most heavily affected are Jefferson County and Northern Kentucky, where cases have quadrupled in the past four years, according to a report from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

There is no elaborate secret to preventing “whooping cough,” it’s plain and simple; parents should vaccinate their children. There are vaccinations for all age groups, including babies (who should be kept away from anyone coughing or displaying signs of the disease).

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, babies should get five doses of DTaP, the vaccine for “whooping cough,” at two, four and six months, at 15 through 18 months, and at four through six years. Adults who were never vaccinated as a child still have the ability to do so in order to prevent further spread of the disease.

While it is up to parents to decide to vaccinate their children, it is important to stop easily preventable dieseases from making a comeback into our society of modern medicine. Not only do parents decide the health of their children with vaccinations, they also choose the health of their communities.

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