As a service to the local mountain communities, Mountains Community Hospital and the Rim of the World Unified School District are joining together to offer Pertussis/Whooping Cough vaccines in the Medical Office Building across from the hospital in Lake Arrowhead. Here are details:
- Mon. Aug. 8th, 5:00p-8:00p
- Tues. Aug. 9th, 8:00a-11:00a
- Tues. Aug. 16th, 8:00a-11:00a
Last year California experienced the worst epidemic of Whooping Cough, also known as pertussis, in 60 years. While most people think this disease occurred in the “olden days,” unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. Last year’s outbreak affected almost 7,000 Californians and claimed the lives of at least 10 babies. In fact, there were 1,496 cases reported in the first six months of 2010.
This situation prompted the California Department of Public Health to determine that children entering grades 7 through 12 in all of the state’s public and private schools must show proof that they have received a pertussis booster shot. The last booster the students probably received was when they were six years old. So, by 7th grade, their original immunizations and protection originally afforded would be “wearing off.”
Pertussis can be a killer—especially for small children. Mountains Community Hospital cautions parents of children in every age group to make sure their children are immunized and/or receive booster shots. Health officials also believe parents, caregivers, nurses, teachers and other people who are around children should receive the Tdap booster. Due to their small size, babies are particularly susceptible to pertussis. So it is extremely important that they receive their series of shots.
Last year’s outbreak and the state’s associated new requirement that students get a booster shot makes it very possible that agencies may run low on the serum and, thus, unable to meet the deadline. The San Bernardino County Department of Health has a good supply of the serum. While some doctors on the mountain report that they have run out of the vaccine, they have placed it on backorder and will be prepared to immunize kids as soon as the serum is back on their shelves.
Mountains Community Hospital in Lake Arrowhead, the mountain’s healthcare center for over 50 years, encourages parents to get their children immunized or get a booster shot soon because the start of the new school year begins next month. Many parents will wait until the last minute. And, if there is a shortage, at that point they will have to wait until the serum is available before their child is permitted to start school. Anticipated shortages are expected to occur between now and the start of the new school year.
Pertussis is very contagious and is caused by bacteria which are easily spread. The disease will start with the same symptoms of the common cold. But there’s nothing common about pertussis. After one or two weeks, severe coughing begins. Victims cough so violently and so rapidly that all the air leaves their lungs and produces a “whooping” sound when they breathe. (Hence the name whooping cough)
Mountains Community Hospital cares about your health. Please visit our website for more information and/or links to information about treatments for many illness and medical conditions. For information log onto: www.mchcares.com and click on “resource center.”