Pertussis, aka "whooping cough", vaccine
Winston-Salem, NC -- It's an invisible killer, but it's anything but silent: it's Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough.
Last year, Alamance County had 122 reported cases of Whooping Cough from December 2011 to June 2012.
And now, it's spreading in Forsyth County.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been 18 reported cases in Forsyth County. Twelve of those cases were reported in just the past week.
So what can you as parents do to make sure your kids stay healthy?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are two biggies:
First, the best way to prevent Pertussis is to get vaccinated. Not only should your kids be vaccinated, but parents need to be vaccinated, too.
Second, parents can help protect infants by keeping them away from anyone who has cold symptoms or is coughing because that's how Whooping Cough usually spreads.
According to the CDC, a lot of infants who get Whooping Cough, are actually infected by parents, older siblings, or other caregivers who might not even know they have it.
To give you another idea of just how contagious it is, you can easily get it from someone if you've been within six feet of them for an hour or so.
What's even scarier, Whooping Cough often starts out as a regular cold with a runny nose or congestion.
But the cough can get so bad, that a child can struggle to catch their breath. They make a "whooping" sound, as they try to inhale.
Here's what the CDC recommends for maximum protection:
Infants and kids need to get five DTaP shots.
By the time they're preteens or teens, the protection can decrease, so they need to get another booster shot around 11 or 12 years old.
Adults should be vaccinated every 10 years.
Even if you're up-to-date, Whooping Cough vaccines are not 100 percent effective, so there's still that chance you or your child could catch it.
If you or child develops a cold with a cough they just can't kick, contact your doctor.
WFMY News 2