Whooping cough, also known as pertussis or the 100-day cough, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that used to be considered a childhood disease before a vaccine was invented to treat it. Anti-vaxxers-those who don’t wish to vaccinate their kids against disease-avoid it, believing any possible side effects to be worse than getting the actual virus.
It’s true that most people who get whooping cough can fight it off. So why vaccinate? And in our crazy world of “evil big pharma”, “corporations-gone-wild” and big banks with questionable ethics, it’s easy to think that what once seemed good, should now be questioned and possibly avoided at all costs. The medication used to better one part of your body, can make you go blind in another, devastate your liver, and give you depression-or worse.
But it’s good to remember this: when vaccinations were invented, it wasn’t done as a money-making scheme. It was done to save you. Jonas Salk, an American medical researcher who was born in New York City and studied at the New York University School of Medicine invented the vaccine. He once said, “As a child I was not interested in science. I was merely interested in things human, the human side of nature, if you like, and I continue to be interested in that.”
The Mayo Clinic states that teens and adults often recover from whooping cough without complications, with side effects that range simply from bruised or cracked ribs from coughing so hard, to broken blood vessels in skin or the whites of the eyes.
When an infant gets whooping cough, especially those under 6 months of age, side effects include pneumonia, brain damage, slowed or stopped breathing, dehydration and weight loss due to feeding difficulties. And death.
Infants who get whooping cough are typically hospitalized for treatment. Your infant might not be able to keep liquids or food down, and they may be put on intravenous fluids. Your child will also be put in isolation to keep from spreading the illness around.
Herd immunity, according to theconversation.com, requires that 90-95% of people must be vaccinated.
This means that if 90-95% of a group is vaccinated against a disease, the remaining 5% who aren’t vaccinated are protected from the disease by virtue of the fact that it’s highly unlikely that anyone around them will have the disease-because they’ve all been vaccinated.
But anything lower than 90-95% vaccinated, means the scales can tip.
The disease that was once part of the past in the population will be back and it will spread until everyone has had it and survived or died out, or until everyone is actually vaccinated against it.
Don’t be afraid to look at disease. Here’s whooping cough:
And here’s polio, another disease now covered in today’s routine vaccinations:
The polio vaccine first became available in 1955. The illness was entirely eliminated from the Americas in 1994, and Europe was declared polio-free in 2002.
The whooping cough vaccine saved an estimated half a million lives in 2002.
Symptoms are very similar to the common cold and include:
- runny nose
- mild cough
- low-grade fever