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The No.1 Thing to Protect Baby From Whooping Cough

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
March 2, 2017
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Baby might not be eligible for the whooping cough vaccine — DTaP — until she’s two months old, but that doesn’t mean you can’t protect her from the infection.

Whooping cough, technically pertussis, isn’t usually dangerous in adults. But over half of babies diagnosed with pertussis need to be hospitalized, and in some cases, it’s fatal. A new study from Australia says your best defense is to get vaccinated yourself. Babies were 51 percent less likely to be diagnosed with whooping cough when both parents had been immunized. Mom’s immunization was especially important: that reduced the risk of whooping cough in baby by 42 percent. Protecting dad boosted that number to 51 percent.

Anyone else who comes into contact with baby, like siblings, should be up to date on their vaccinations as well.

After an outbreak of whooping cough in California earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even recommends that pregnant women receive a Tdap booster during _each _pregnancy. The best time for the booster shot is between 27 and 36 weeks, because the protective antibodies that’ll be passed on to baby hit their highest levels about two weeks after vaccinations.

Are all of your immunizations up to date?

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