This Post Is In Partnership With the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) In Collaboration With Sanofi Pasteur. As Always, All Opinions Are My Own. Thank You For Sponsoring CityGirlGoneMom.
Anyone who knows me knows that I adore entertaining. Ever since I moved from the East Coast to the West, my doors have been revolving year-round with friends and family who come to visit. I never pass up the chance to spend time with those that matter the most. Whether it’s the whole family visiting for dinner or a Christmas party for the kids, you can bet I always have a constant stream of chaos in my home.
But this year, things are a little different. With the outbreak of COVID-19 and a global pandemic that has us all staying home, the traditions of the holiday season have taken a backseat to keeping my kids and family safe. We are following the guidelines set by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local health mandates to make sure to protect our children’s health through the holidays.
Even without visiting family or holding Christmas parties, all these unwanted illnesses almost seem inevitable because of how easily they can be transmitted. It’s as easy as touching doorknobs, borrowing a pencil or a simple hug. In addition to COVID-19, winter is known as the season for colds, flu, and whooping cough, so it’s important as a mom of four that I put on my superhero cape and protect my little beings.
The CDC recommends that adults and adolescents receive one dose of a Tdap booster vaccine to protect against whooping cough, as a substitute for the Td (tetanus-diphtheria) booster recommended every 10 years.
The Dangers of Whooping Cough
Whooping cough (also called pertussis) is a serious respiratory infection that spreads easily from person to person. Outbreaks are more likely to happen in the fall and winter seasons. The infection causes coughing spells so severe that it can be hard to breathe, eat or sleep. Whooping cough can lead to cracked ribs, pneumonia, hospitalization or even death. It affects people of all ages, but infants less than a year old are at greatest risk.
Unfortunately, four out of five babies with whooping cough catch it at home from loved ones. Nearly half of all infants with whooping cough are hospitalized and some may die. That is why I encourage you to watch this PSA by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases to learn more.
Pertussis is tough to diagnose because early symptoms may appear like the common cold or bronchitis. The classic symptom is a “whoop,” the sound of someone gasping for breath during a bad coughing spell.
All of my children are vaccinated and it’s very important to include the one to prevent pertussis. DTaP is the childhood vaccine, and Tdap is the pertussis booster vaccine for preteens, teens and adults. Even with high rates of pediatric vaccination in the US, the number of whooping cough cases has been increasing steadily. According to the CDC, worldwide, there are an estimated 16 million cases of pertussis and about 195,000 deaths per year.
Talk to your healthcare professional about getting vaccinated against pertussis. (Parents too!) This is vastly important for those of you who still plan to travel or will be in close contact with infants! And if you have an infant, make sure to strongly recommend (or even insist!) this vaccine to anyone who will be traveling to visit you.
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Protection against whooping cough from early childhood vaccines wears off. Adolescents and adults are at risk for infection.
Differences Between Flu & COVID-19
Coughing? Fever? Body aches? Do they have COVID-19 or just the flu? There are so many similarities between influenza and COVID-19 it can be hard to tell. Both are contagious respiratory diseases, and certain groups including older adults and people with chronic health conditions are at high-risk for complications from both diseases. But many of the steps that help stop the spread of COVID-19 can also help protect against the flu, like wearing a mask, washing your hands and keeping surfaces clean.
The best way to help prevent the flu is for the whole family to get vaccinated every year. The CDC recommends that everyone age six months and older get vaccinated annually. Flu vaccination is especially important this year and the best time to get vaccinated is in the fall, before influenza viruses begin spreading in your community. While there isn’t a vaccine for COVID-19 yet, taking the right steps can help maintain your children’s health this holiday season.
During the 2018–2019 flu season, flu vaccination prevented approximately 4.4 million flu illnesses, 58,000 hospitalizations, and 3,500 deaths.
Spending time with loved ones over the holidays is crucial. I relish in all the excitement that my family and friends bring. But, as a mom, I also know that time with family and friends can come with catching colds or even serious illnesses. And my family’s safety comes first.
To care for my children’s health during the holidays, I do my best to be prepared and educate myself on the preventative options available. This ultimately helps me feel more in control and better able to enjoy our rhythm as a family of six. Recently, I spoke with Dr. Syra Madad on Instagram Live to understand how to gather with friends or family safely. Listen in and make sure you and your family stay safe this holiday season!
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Flu vaccination is especially important this year to help protect individuals and prevent additional strain on an already overburdened US healthcare system.