Editor's note: The clinic is being held Tuesday, January 15, not Monday as originally reported.
NEW GLASGOW – The whooping cough may not sound like anything more than a bad cold to an adult, but for a young baby, it can be deadly.
Dr. Robin Taylor, medical officer of health for Pictou County, Cumberland County and Colchester/ East Hants health authorities, said New Brunswick and Nova Scotia both recorded incidents of the whooping cough in 2012 so necessary precautions need to be taken to project young babies from the bacterial infection.
“It is really dangerous to young babies because they are not fully protected with all of their vaccines and boosters until they are 18 months old,” she said. “If an adult had whooping cough, they could easily pass it on to a baby who is in harm’s way of it.”
This is why a free immunization clinic will be held Tuesday at Summer Street Industries in New Glasgow from 10 to 3 p.m. for adults in need of booster shots for whooping cough, which is otherwise known as pertussis.
“An adult might have a bad cough and not know it is whooping cough because adults often don’t have the whooping sound. Adults can then pass the germ along to children without realizing it,” she said, adding that it is a contagious bacterial infection that is spread through coughing and sneezing. “Everyone needs to get a booster, particularly the parents of new babies.”
Whooping cough is a bacterial infection in the respiratory system. It can be passed on from coughing, sneezing or being near anyone who has the germ. At first it looks like a bad cold, but then the person starts to have bad coughing spells and makes a whooping sound before they take their next breath. They might also vomit after a coughing spell.
The cough can last up to two months and a person might find it hard to breathe. In babies, the symptoms might start like a cold, but babies may also gag or gasp, but not cough much at all. The whooping cough can sometimes also cause babies to stop breathing.
Taylor said anyone who hasn’t had a booster vaccination for the whooping cough in the past four years is eligible to take part in free immunization clinic. A booster for tetanus is also included in the whooping cough vaccine.
“Even if you had whooping cough as a child, the natural protection for the disease wears off after 10 to 20 years,” she said. “You are not longer protected so you need to get the vaccine.”
Anyone interested in getting the free immunization should talk to their health care provider or public health. People who had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past should discuss the issue with public health or their doctor.
For more information about the whooping cough vaccine, call 752-5151 or visit http://novascotia.ca/hpp/cdpc/immunication.asp