Whooping cough outbreak worries health providers

This year the U.S. has seen the worst outbreak of whooping cough in more than 50 years. In fact, it has reached epidemic levels in many states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the numbers of cases reported is already twice as many as last year. With kids getting ready to head back-to-school, the numbers of children impacted or killed by this disease could continue to rise if children aren’t accurately vaccinated.

“Vaccinating our children against whooping cough and other illnesses is the best way we can protect them,” said Andrew Bonwit, pediatric infectious disease expert at Loyola University Health System. “The next best defense we have for children is good hand-washing hygiene, and also not sending children to school, day care or after school programs if they are sick.”

Whooping cough is only one of numerous potentially deadly illnesses that can be effectively diminished by vaccination schedules. In addition to keeping kids safe from these diseases, vaccines also can help when diagnosing a sick child.

“When your child gets sick, being fully vaccinated helps your doctor simplify the evaluation and can lead to a quicker, more accurate diagnosis,” said Bonwit.

“Though no one likes to get shots, vaccines are an integral part of keeping kids and our community safe,” said Heidi Renner, primary care physician at Loyola University Health System. “They work to safeguard children from illnesses and death caused by infectious diseases and protect our kids by helping prepare their bodies to fight often serious and potentially deadly diseases,”

Vaccines have helped to nearly eradicate many of the diseases that were leading causes of death in children only a few decades ago.

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