On Your Health

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Protect Yourself with a TDaP Vaccination

by Dr. Melanie Marshall, family medicine doctor at INTEGRIS Family Care Northwest

Getting vaccinated is a simple way we can protect ourselves from disease. The TDaP vaccination will shield you from getting tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Dr. Melanie Marshall, a family medicine physician with INTEGRIS Family Care Northwest, explains why it's important to protect you and your loved ones with one simple step.
I'm Dr. Melanie Marshall and I'd like to deliver a special message to you about an important vaccine available to adults and adolescents which can prevent a devastating disease. The disease is whooping cough and can be prevented with the TDaP vaccine. This vaccine protects us against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough. In adults and adolescents, whooping cough is commonly referred to as the "100 day cough," because it lingers for over three months. It is a severe cough, which can lead to vomiting, cracked ribs and even pneumonia. Although as adults, three months with a severe cough can be devastating, it can be deadly in babies. Infants cannot be immunized until they are two months of age, leaving them extremely vulnerable in their early life. Unfortunately this preventable disease infects over 3,000 infants each year, leading to almost 20 deaths per year. As a parent of young children, we should encourage anyone that will have close contact with our newborn to be immunized. As adults, let us take the initiative to protect our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, as well as ourselves, by volunteering to receive the vaccine. If you have received a tetanus booster shot in the past few years, you've likely already been immunized, so contact your doctor to verify. Most insurance companies cover the TDaP vaccine. It is also typically available at your local pharmacy for around $65. The CDC has some wonderful information about whooping cough and the TDaP vaccine, so I invite you to check out their website, www.cdc.gov/vaccines.

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