by Sheldon S. Zinberg, M.D.
Older adults might remember the 40’s and 50’s when whooping cough was at epidemic proportions. Can you recall the kids who were quarantined and who used to have to wear those yellow arm bands telling everyone they were contagious? Remember the little signs that were posted on the front door of the house where a child had Whooping Cough? Well, maybe you don’t remember, but that’s the way it used to be.
Whooping cough, known as Pertussis, has been on the rise. It shouldn’t be dismissed as a benign childhood disease because it can be a very serious problem; and this is especially true for us older adults. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that all adults be vaccinated with the Tdap vaccine…a single shot. This covers tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). While diphtheria has been almost eliminated and tetanus is pretty rare, whooping cough has been on the rise. In fact, you have to go back to 1959 to find as many cases as are now being reported. So talk to your doctor and see if a shot is the right thing for you.