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Mark Winton, MD
My kids were immunized against Pertussis (or whooping cough) years ago, are they protected from the current outbreak?
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Mark D. Winton, MD, FACP answered:
Pertussis is a serious bacterial disease in infants and children. Once thought largely under control, it is now returning. We now know that immunity wears off in adolescents and young adults, which allows high school students to get ill with pertussis, and spread it to parents, grandparents, and young susceptible children.

In young children, the whooping cough can lead to airway obstruction and death. Infants and young children who have no immunity to pertussis may become critically ill or die. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports an estimated 50 million cases and 300,000 deaths a year from this illness.Adolescents and young adults do not get a “whoop” sound to their cough; instead they get fever and a dry cough, which may make them hack until they vomit or pass out.

The disease in infants and children has three stages, which may last several weeks to months. After the initial phase, the second phase is characterized by spasms of uncontrollable coughing and the face may turn red or purple. At the end of the coughing, there may by an inspiratory  “whoop.” In adults, the disease is known as the “100 day cough.”

Pertussis is very contagious and is on the rise. In 2005 a vaccine became available to protect adolescents. It is now recommended that young adults get a Tdap shot instead of a Td booster. The new pertussis vaccine in the Tdap shot increases the level of protection. It is very safe and will help prevent the pertussis outbreaks now being seen all over the U.S. and other parts of the world. This should help reduce the number of infant deaths that have been seen from whooping cough lately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that immunization reduces the odds of contracting pertussis, especially for children. Children who never received any doses of DTaP vaccine face odds of having whooping cough at least eight times higher than children who received all 5 doses of the vaccine.
I recommend everyone get the Tdap after they have completed the primary series of DTaP. Adults over19 years of age should get a boost of Td every 10 years.
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CAN YOU TEST FOR HANTAVIRUS?
- john payne
Mark D. Winton, MD, FACP
MARK D. WINTON, MD, FACP ANSWERED:
We can test for Hantavirus - it is a blood test we send off to a reference laboratory. It is not a rapid test, and takes several days for a result.
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HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE A COLD OR THE FLU?
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Mark D. Winton, MD, FACP
MARK D. WINTON, MD, FACP ANSWERED:
  • The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses.
  • The flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense.
  • Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.
  • Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be
...
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WHEN SOMEONE DOES GET SICK, WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?
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Mark D. Winton, MD, FACP
MARK D. WINTON, MD, FACP ANSWERED:
If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. Be aware that some people are more likely to get flu complications, for example young children, people 65 and older, people with asthma, diabetes or women who are pregnant. They should talk to a health care provider.
  • Look for emergency warning signs such as difficulty breathing
  • Pain or pressure
...
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MY KIDS WERE IMMUNIZED AGAINST PERTUSSIS (OR WHOOPING COUGH) YEARS AGO, ARE THEY PROTECTED FROM THE CURRENT OUTBREAK?
-
Mark D. Winton, MD, FACP
MARK D. WINTON, MD, FACP ANSWERED:
Pertussis is a serious bacterial disease in infants and children. Once thought largely under control, it is now returning. We now know that immunity wears off in adolescents and young adults, which allows high school students to get ill with pertussis, and spread it to parents, grandparents, and young susceptible children. In young children, the whooping cough can lead to airway obstruction and death. Infants and young children who have no immunity to pertussis may become critically ill or die. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports an...
[ read more ]
DOES THE FLU VACCINE LOSE EFFECTIVENESS OVER THE SEASON?
- Connie
Mark D. Winton, MD, FACP
MARK D. WINTON, MD, FACP ANSWERED:
Many people falsely believe that flu vaccinations lose effectiveness over the season. The antibody level and protection from the vaccine for those strains is maintained for many years. I recommend you get your flu shot as early in the season as you can. Vaccine is available now and waiting only places you and your family at risk. It takes up to 2 weeks for protection to develop after the vaccination; protection lasts about a year, because that is about how long it takes for the current...
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