There’s A Whooping Cough Epidemic In California Thanks To Dumb Parents Who Don’t Believe In Science

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shutterstock_72109813-280x189There’s been 800 new cases of whooping cough reported in the last two weeks in California. Late last week the state public health department declared that the disease has reached “epidemic proportions.” Happy anti-vaxxers? How much longer can you all remain completely oblivious to the importance of herd immunity? Get informed immediately. It’s not cute anymore.

Every time we write an article on the importance of vaccinations, there is always someone bringing this argument to the discussion: If your child is vaccinated, why do you care?

Short answer: Because I also care about humans who aren’t in my family. Go figure.

Long answer: Diminishing the public vaccination rate reduces “herd immunity.” If you’ve never fully grasped the importance of herd immunity, here is a short explanation:

Herd immunity is a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population (or herd) provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.

It arises when a high percentage of the population is protected through vaccination against a virus or bacteria, making it difficult for a disease to spread because there are so few susceptible people left to infect.

This can effectively stop the spread of disease in the community. It is particularly crucial for protecting people who cannot be vaccinated. These include children who are too young to be vaccinated, people with immune system problems, and those who are too ill to receive vaccines (such as some cancer patients).

Parents who turn their backs on science to follow the misinformed rants of the anti-vaxx crowd have effectively chipped away at herd immunity, by allowing their children to remain compromised. The argument that whooping cough is a disease that healthy children can conquer without issue is a perfect example of how short-sighted anti-vaxxers are. It’s great that you believe your child is strong enough to get through a highly contagious disease that causes bouts of intense coughing that can last several weeks – but what about those who have compromised immune systems like the elderly or cancer patients? What about babies too young to receive their immunizations? Do you really feel comfortable making decisions for those people, too? Here are some facts about the symptoms of whooping cough:

  • During a bout of coughing, you repeatedly cough over and over again. The face often goes red and the body becomes tense. Eventually, there is a desperate attempt to breathe in, which may cause a whooping sound. Note: the whooping sound at the end of a bout of coughing only happens in about half of cases.
  • Some children may stop breathing at the end of a bout of coughing and go blue for a short time. This looks worse than it actually is, as breathing usually quickly resumes.
  • Each bout of coughing typically lasts 1-2 minutes.
  • Several bouts of coughing may occur together and last several minutes in total.
  • It is common to vomit at the end of a bout of coughing.
  • The number of coughing bouts per day varies from case to case. You may only have a few bouts each day but some people have up to 100 bouts per day. The average is about 12-15 bouts per day.

Who knows how long it will take to reverse the effects of this epidemic and achieve herd immunity once again? Vaccinate your children and spread as much knowledge about the importance of vaccinations as you can to those around you.

(photo: Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock)