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HealthONE Center for Maternal Fetal Health


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This year, Pertussis (whooping cough) cases in Colorado are up 2 to 3 fold from 2011, nearing epidemic levels. Below is general information about the disease and steps to follow to reduce the risk.

Concussions are also serious business. Head trauma in children requires prompt and proper treatment. Young athletes between the ages of 11 and 18 are particularly susceptible to head injuries. The CDC estimates that 3.8 million concussions are sustained every year in the US. Read more about Concussions below, or at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children Center for Concussion.

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Also known as pertussis, whooping cough is a very contagious bacterial disease. It is transmitted through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person’s nose or mouth when they cough or sneeze. The bacteria infects the respiratory system, causing severe coughing spells within a week or two that sometimes sound like a “whoop” when breathing in. After two to four weeks, the infected person is seized with coughing fits. This is not always so, though. There have been cases where infants look as though they’re gasping for breath with red faces or stop breathing for a few minutes. Adults and teens have also had long spells of coughing without the whoop sounds.

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Whooping cough signs include runny nose, sneezing, mild cough and low-grade fever. Those most at risk include children in the womb whose parents are not vaccinated against the disease and babies and toddlers who still have developing immune systems. If your child gets whooping cough, they should be taken to the doctor immediately. The child will be given antibiotics to treat the infection and should be healed within two weeks. It is also wise that parents reduce the cough triggers. A humidifier often helps, as does keeping the child calm. In extreme cases with infants, they will need hospitalization.

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To prevent against whooping cough, children usually get the pertussis vaccine during their childhood immunizations, as part of the DTaP immunization. Children should also get the booster version of the vaccine, Tdap, between the ages of 11 and 12 (i.e. 6th grade), to reinforce their immunity against whooping cough. Parents who did not get either shot as children should get the Tdap vaccine before they get pregnant.

For immunization, please schedule an appointment with your doctor.

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In 2012, Colorado Senate Bill 40 – The Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act was put in place to create a set of standards for coaches of youth sports to ensure proper concussion care for all young athletes. The bill has three major components:
Coaches of youth sports are now required to train annually to recognize the signs and symptoms of head trauma in children.

1. The athlete must be pulled from the game or practice if the coach suspects a concussion has occurred and cannot allow that child to return to play that day.

2. The athlete can’t return to practice or play without written clearance from a health care provider after a thorough evaluation.

3. Eighty to ninety percent of concussions heal well, if treated properly. Keep in mind that an athlete that sustains one concussion is four to six times more likely to have a repeat head injury. Football injuries, in particular, average one in every five and a half games.

HealthONE is committed to providing FREE concussion seminars to help parents and coaches keep young athletes safe. For more information on youth concussions and to sign up for a seminar, please visit the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children Center for Concussion website.