Officials urge vaccine

Hood River Public Health is asking the community to get vaccinated for whooping cough.

Also known as pertussis, the illness is spread through the air by infectious droplets and is very contagious.

Coughing and sneezing are common means of its spread from person to person. Whooping cough can be very serious and can result in hospitalization, especially for the very young and the elderly, according to Lindy McCasland, R.N., Oregon Adult Immunization Project for Hood River, Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties.

Complications from whooping cough that may occur include pneumonia, seizures, encephalopathy, rib fractures from coughing and death.

The state of Washington is currently experiencing an epidemic. Oregon had 869 confirmed cases in 2012.

Many people, usually adults, remain undiagnosed but pass it along to others. Prevention by vaccination is the best way to stop whooping cough.

The Tdap vaccine is used to vaccinate adolescents and adults for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. It is recommended by the Center for Disease Control that all adults have one Tdap vaccine. The vaccine is especially recommended for pregnant women during their third trimester and anyone who will have contact with a young baby.

Tdap vaccine can be given at any time — your healthcare provider or local health department can determine whether you need it.

Vaccination is available through primary care providers, pharmacies and the health department. If you are uninsured contact the health department to find out if you qualify for low-cost or no-cost Tdap vaccine. Protect yourself; protect your family and friends; protect your community.

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