Being sponsored at BlogHer by MinuteClinic was a wonderful honor, and it was also great to sit down and chat with the executive team behind the MinuteClinic brand.
As we chatted, we talked about all things health care; from legislation and laws, to vaccinations and immunizations. Which reminded me of a recent experience I had when I was in the hospital delivering my baby girl.
For anyone who has delivered a baby in a hospital, you know the day after the birth, you are inundated with forms and decisions; from social security and insurance to vaccinations and feedings. As I went through all the forms, I saw one about the Pertussis vaccine. In this case, however, it wasn’t for my newborn, but for me.
But what the heck is Pertussis? Pertussis is known as whooping cough, and often seems like the common cold. Typical symptoms include runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and possibly mild cough or fever. But, after 1-2 weeks of these symptoms, severe coughing can begin and continue for weeks. Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, which tends to produce a “whooping” sound between coughs, like taking a noisy, deep breath. (You can hear what it sounds like here.)
To minimize contracting Pertussis, infants and children can get the DTaP vaccine, and the pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. Having a toddler, I knew about DTaP, but I didn’t know why I was being asked to get a booster shot.
Well, let’s focus on some facts. Pertussis outbreaks peak every 3 to 5 years. Often, however, the outbreaks are more severe than stated because many cases go unreported and are mis-diagnosed. So it is concerning to hear that as of July 2012, 37 states have reported increases in the disease compared with the same time period in 2011, which prompted the CDC to issue a health care advisory stating it may be the worst outbreak in 50 years.
Yet, if Pertussis is common, and outbreaks are expected, what’s the big deal? Well, the issue is that severe outbreak results in more incidences and more incidences result in more deaths. The majority of deaths continue to occur among infants younger than 3 months of age, and the incidence rate exceeds that of all other age groups. (The second highest rates of disease are observed among children 7 through 10 years old.)
Since the CDC had reported an epidemic for this year, and the mortality rate is greater with newborns, it was considered important to have me vaccinated to reduce the risk of me contracting the disease and then passing it to my baby. Especially since the CDC doesn’t suggest vaccinating newborns with DTaP until 2 months, which leaves them exposed during that period of time.
I chose to get the vaccine, and left the hospital already immunized. However, if you are concerned, and want to minimize the risk in contracting the disease and spreading it to your children, head to a MinuteClinic to get vaccinated. You don’t need an appointment, just walk in! Most insurance plans will cover it too. Yet, even if you don’t have insurance coverage, you can still get the vaccine. The out-of-pocket cost is about $100. MinuteClinic will also vaccinate children over 18 months of age.
To learn more about Pertussis, visit the CDC website, and check with your doctor, pediatrician or health care provider to see what is right for you and your medical history. To learn more about MinuteClinic and the vaccinations they offer, visit their website or Facebook page.
I received compensation for this post as part of my BlogHer sponsorship. However, the decision to write on this topic, and other thoughts and opinions, are my own.