Jennifer Lopez's Campaign to Fight Whooping Cough
When Jennifer Lopez learned that pertussis, or whooping cough, is making a comeback and poses a serious threat to babies, the mother of twins decided to get involved. "What people don't realize is it's been on the rise for the past seven years," Jennifer says. "A lot of babies - who it's very dangerous for and can be fatal - catch it from their parents." It can be prevented with a simple booster shot, which Jennifer is raising awareness about through a Public Service Announcement for the March of Dimes. "It's a really easy shot," Jennifer says, adding that she and her husband Marc Anthony both got one. "We just don't want to take any chances." Click on the video to watch her PSA and to hear what a baby sounds like with the cough.
To explain everything you need to know about whooping cough, Jennifer is joined by Dr. Alan Fleischman, the March of Dimes' medical director.
How do you babies catch whooping cough? "You catch it like you catch a cold," Dr. Fleischman says. "It's coughs, sneezes, even kissing babies can give them whooping cough."
Why is it on the rise? "I think what we've learned is that the protection from our immunizations when we were babies ends after five or 10 years and that's why we need a booster in the adult time," Dr. Fleischman says. "Adults are giving it to the babies."
What are the early warning signs of whooping cough? "It is a cold and in the beginning are coughing fits, I mean, it's really a whoop!" he says. "It's a little different than croup; you can hear the difference. They're both serious problems that need medical attention."
What happens when babies have whooping cough? Dr. Fleishman says it is curable, but can still be a serious condition. "About half the infants who get it need hospitalization. They get pneumonia, they get serious bronchitis. And sadly, we have some fatalities in the United States."
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