The Public Health Nursing department of the Cypress Health Region is reminding the general public to ensure they are up to date on their Pertussis (also known as Whooping Cough) immunization.
Pertussis is a serious bacterial infection of the nose and throat. About 1 in 200 infants who get Pertussis could die. Pertussis can cause pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, or death. These complications are seen most often in infants.
The bacteria are easily spread by coughing, sneezing, or close face-to-face contact. Pertusses can cause severe coughing that often ends with a whooping sound before the next breath. This cough can last several months and occurs more often at night.
“As is the case with other infections, Pertussis can quickly infect a mass amount of people and we would like to remind and encourage everyone to ensure that they are protected with the vaccine,” commented Dr. David Torr, Consulting Medical Health Officer. “Other infection control practices, such as washing your hands and coughing and sneezing into a tissue, are also important to implement into your daily routine.”
In Saskatchewan, the TdaP vaccine, which gives protection against Tetanus, Diptheria, and Pertussis, is available free of charge to those who qualify, based on the following criteria:
- Infants aged two, four, six and 18 months, and children aged 4, receive a Pertussis-containing vaccine;
- grade 8 students requiring a booster dose;
- mothers and primary caregivers of infants less than six months of age, including those who sleep in the same room or provide direct care on a regular basis;
- health care personnel who provide direct care to infants and pregnant women;
- all adults who are due for their next Tetanus booster, which should occur every 10 years.
The best protection is achieved when immunizations start and continue on schedule. Interrupted or delayed immunizations reduce a child’s protection against serious diseases like Pertussis.
Many members of the general public are up to date with their Pertussis vaccination and require no action, but those who have never received a vaccination or who may require a booster shot are encouraged to contact their public health office:
Gull Lake 778-5184; Herbert 778-5287; Leader 628-3160; Maple Creek 662-4112; Ponteix 625-5102; Shaunavon 297-2644; Swift Current 778-5280; Rural areas 1-866-786-2510.