or Connect
Mothering › Groups › October 2012 Due Date Club › Discussions › Pertussis vaccine OR how do we protect our babies

Pertussis vaccine OR how do we protect our babies

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thinking ahead to prime cold & flu season when our babes are due, and seeing the numbers of pertussis in our area growing, it has me wondering - how the heck to we protect our babies?

 

I continually read conflicting info that the vaccine DOES NOT prevent transmission, so I could easily have what I think is a cold and pass it on to baby, so could anyone else who gets vaccinated.

DS has only had one vaccine for Pertussis and he had a very bad reaction (though it was combo shot, so not know which part) so I'm very hesitant to possibly harm him with a vax that may not protect baby anyway. He's 4 and will be in school part-time, so illnesses will be expected and it sounds like many vaxed kids are getting this anyway.

I have a stock of sodium ascorbate for treatment for us big people, but what about baby?

 

I ask b/c I know a family who's 6 week old had a suspected case of whooping cough (never bugged them to see if it was confirmed, since they were in and out of the hospital/dr many times) Baby survived, but I can't imagine what they went through.

 

Other than banning anyone with so much as a sniffle until baby is at least 6 months (and hoping DS misses out on some illnesses) does anyone else have thoughts on this?

 

I've researched until my eyeballs fall out and can't come to a conclusive decision either way. I think I may ask DH to get a booster, I'm not so keen on getting it - but I don't know what the right thing is to do. I know if I ask our flexible Ped, she will just suggest the vaccine for DS- so no help there, as it's kind of one sided.

post #2 of 33

tender subject. We don't vaccinate, so we'll not be getting the pertussis vaccine. That does sound like the vaccine isn't that effective although I've not done any recent research on it myself. I caught pertussis when I was 10 or 11, and it was the single most awful sick experience of my life. I was laid up in bed non-stop coughing for two months before it finally went away. I really can't imagine what that's like for a younger child, and I'm sure it's very scary to experience.

 

However, I have thought about this quite a bit as it's such a prime time to have illnesses all around a very very young child. I plan to keep everyone out of the house...like, seriously, the doula can come back for one visit pp, but that's the only 'outsider' that we'll be letting in for a long while. Especially family members who'd have to fly in and come across all sorts of germs and bugs during their travels that wouldn't even show up yet! I'm sure that will hurt some feelings, but it's just not safe if we don't want to vaccinate, and want to avoid a trip to the pediatrician.

 

Also, I think it helps that the birth will be at home, and then (the same as ds) I have no intention of doing any well-child visits, so we'll miss that added exposure you might get in a waiting room. 

 

I also am a big believer in nutrition affecting health. Before we do any traveling, I plan our meals and snacks out so that there extra high in nutrients like vitamin C. Before the birth, I'll do the same, and for the immediate pp period, I'll make sure that everything stays healthy and nutrient-rich. 

 

It also helps A LOT that dh works from home and ds still stays at home with me. So, we only have to worry about simple trips out to the library or the coffee shop where our exposure just isn't the same. So, I'm HOPING that we won't come across anything awful as a family that could be passed on to the little one in the first place!

 

With all that said, it's still mostly hoping that we don't hit anything awful in those first months. DS was born in December, and we started traveling when he was 8 weeks old. Even with all of that, he didn't have his first illness until 6 months on the button. And, it was a doozy, but we missed even a sniffle until then. Since then, we've not had anything beyond the odd fever or sniffle (knock on wood!) So I'm hoping we just happen to have strong immune systems.

post #3 of 33

We did delayed/selective vax. But we always got the pertussis vaccine on time. That was the 1 I didn't want to mess around with. My DD's first pediatrician was VERY open when it came to letting parents decide about vaccines - but he was VERY strong in his belief that kids should had the pertussis vaccine bc he had seen too many cases of little ones getting it. He talked for a long time to us about it while I was still pregnant and interviewing him. I had my booster when we were trying to get pregnant and I am making DH get his booster before baby comes too. I'd not heard that parents being vaccinated did not prevent transmission. I haven't researched that issue. I think there has to be reason why hospitals, etc are making sure parents and all caregivers have the vaccine before baby goes home from hospital (at least around here). 

 

I had thought I would skip the chicken pox vaccine altogether but I actually had DD get it recently - not bc I care if she gets it, but my pediatrician thought it would be prudent since she is starting preschool a month before I am due and chicken pox can be serious in a tiny baby. So she got it in order to protect her sister. I doubt the new baby will ever get that vaccine though. 

 

I know people feel very strongly about vax/no vax. It's very personal and you have to do whatever you think will afford your family the best safety and peace of mind - be it from the disease you are wishing to prevent OR from the scary things associated with vaccines. It's tough! It's something that has stressed me out a lot as a parent bc it's such a huge decision that no one else is going to make for me!

 

Cindy

post #4 of 33

I am completely in agreement with people who choose not to vaccinate- especially becuase I have worked with so many children with autism over the years.  But, we do vaccinate because I am a neurotic worrying freak!!!!  And I'm not proud of that at all.  I am hoping to find a ped/family doc/naturpath who will do single shots on a delayed schedule.  I have found one family doc who will do that, but I am continuing to look b/c I don't like the hospital he is associated with in our town. 

 

Anyway-- back on topic-- I always have and definitly will be protecting our baby with lots of hand washing from our boys and a rule that no one touches anything the baby puts in his mouth (his hands, pacifiers) nor can they touch his mouth.  And we definitly will be limiting guests-- and making people wash hands and stay away if they are sick.  When I go out I always put the baby in a carrier that keeps him shielded from nosy neighbors and if someone wants to see him, and I'm not sure about it, I will just say he's sleeping.  Our 2nd son was sick a lot his 1st year b/c his brother was in preschool-- it was very very stressful due to lack of sleep and dealing with a sick child.  SOOO, once again, my worrying side will rear her ugly head and I'll be worrying about germs!!

 

Booster shots for DH is a great idea-- I will look into that.

post #5 of 33

I have heard that the reason adults are told to get pertussis boosters IS to protect babies who are too young to get it. I got my booster when dd1 was born. We do vaccinate on schedule, only turning down MMR, chickenpox, and flu. MMR they will get when older. We will still be leading our usual lives, fall/winter baby or not. I don't want my baby getting sick, but I will be breastfeeding and neither of my other two go to school, so staying home would mean isolation for them, which dh and I do not believe is a good thing.

 

When I was pg w/ dd2, I was the ONLY pregnant lady I knew IRL who did not get the H1N1 vaccine! So, I def understand your confusion and worrying.

post #6 of 33

We do all vaccines, though not necessarily on-schedule.  Hep B can definitely wait (no need to vaccinate a freshly born babe from a disease that's passed on through intravenous drug use and sex).  

 

In terms of pertussis, the easiest way to keep a newborn healthy is for them not to be in contact with unvaccinated adults or kids.  DH and I received our boosters a couple of months ago, and DS has his.  Since we won't be doing any daycare for the first year, baby should be OK.  And at that point, she'll be ready for her first DTaP.  

 

I'm definitely partial to vaccines.  I have a huge scar on my arm from the smallpox vaccine I received as a baby (I was born abroad).  We are only one generation removed from kids permanently disabled (polio) or disfigured (smallpox, measles) from communicable diseases (or even worse; so many babies died from smallpox in the 20th century), and personally, I am all for vaccine-mediated immunity.  

 

We always make sure that the vaccines are thimerosal-free. 

 

I know that everyone has a different opinion on this, particularly here on Mothering.  Not trying to debate, just offer an opinion based on what our family is doing.    

post #7 of 33

Bleh, I've been thinking about this too.  My family is all living in a county with bad rates of pertussis right now.  We will be living 3 1/2 hours away from them, but I do want them to see the baby when he's still little.  I need to look into the pertussis situation in the town we're moving to.  DS has not had any vaccines yet.  I'm not against them totally (for myself or anyone else), I just felt like I wanted to put it off when he was brand new, and now I feel like I need to do some more reading and thinking about which ones I want him to have and on what schedule, etc.  He was never sick as a baby.  His first illness was when he was 17 months old.  It probably  helped that dh worked at home (still does).  I worked very part time when ds was little, and ds came with me, but I wasn't really in contact with a lot people at work.  Ds won't be attending any formal pre-school or anything, but I'm going to have to get him out of the house for playgroups etc, or he'll go stir crazy.  He still doesn't get sick often, he had a few colds, and what I think was probably croup when he was in daycare a couple hours a day while I was finishing school, but never anything I needed to go to the doctor for (aside from the first illness at 17 mo). 

 

The DTaP vaccine just bugs me on so many levels.    From what I understand, the effectiveness of the Pertussis part sucks, and doesn't last as long as the D or T, so to stay up to date on the Pertussis, you are getting extra shots of the DT part.  And the level of D and T toxins in the vaccine is for some unknown reason way higher in the under 7 version of the vax than it is in the over 7 version (I think the over 7 is the TDaP?)  Also, even the sucky level of protection you get for Pertussis isn't until you've had 4 shots, the first shot is a primer and gives no immunity, and no one knows what level of immunity people have after the 2nd or 3rd.  I think I remember reading that the tetanus part of the vaccine is known to be more reactive, and I'm personally not really concerned about a little baby getting a tetanus.  If I could get a stand-alone pertussis vaccine I'd feel a lot better about it, but of course that's not available.  I think I might look into me and dh getting boosters, anyone have any info about getting a booster while pregnant?  I'm not sure what to do with ds, I'm not even sure if there's still time to get him the full series before the baby comes. 

 

Can I also just say that I hate that it seems like the majority of information about vaccines on both sides is so biased and alarmist?  Makes me feel like I can't trust anybody on the subject. 

post #8 of 33

I don't know for sure about getting the vaccine while pregnant but I do know a good friend of mine did get the shot while she was pregnant with her 2nd baby. That was when pertussis was all over the news. I personally feel a lot better NOT getting vaccines during preg - that was why I made sure to do it a while back. I think my daughter's first pediatrician had said to wait until she was born and then get the vaccine - so I'm not sure what the official stance is on it.

post #9 of 33

We don't vaccinate.  Nor are we germ-a-phobic.  The one thing to keep in mind regarding the DTaP vaccine is that the baby does not have immunity until the 3rd shot at 6 months! So if you are vaccinating please don't think your 2 month old is completely covered!!

 

The one illness I do really worry over is Pertussis.  The good thing is that once the baby reaches 2 months the risk of death is almost unheard of.  I really want to start DS1 in preschool this fall, but am considering keeping him home until after Christmas, just to keep my LO's healthier.  I'm not sure though, because we will not be locking ourselves in our home.  We will still go to church each Sunday (kids go to their classes) and the kids will go to Awana once a week.  I will probably continue socializing with friends at the park, homes, etc.. When I go out I keep my baby in a carrier (facing in), and I do not pass my baby around...  

 

Here's hoping none of us have a brush with this awful illness!!!

post #10 of 33
Does anyone know ways to boost our babies immune system? Obviously breastfeeding does, but what about supplements we could take or other things that would pass through our milk? Probiotics can do that, but what else??
post #11 of 33
Thread Starter 

A lot of common sense stuff - eating a wide variety of nutrient rich foods. EFA's definitely only increase in breastmilk if mama is taking in more. I'm thinking about Vit C? I wonder if a cold was going around if more vit c or sodium ascorbate would pass through - I'l have to look into it.

I wonder if Kellymom has any info on this....it's a little early for me to look right now, but I'll check back later.

post #12 of 33

"Does anyone know ways to boost our babies immune system? Obviously breastfeeding does, but what about supplements we could take or other things that would pass through our milk? Probiotics can do that, but what else??" Dear Sillymom, boosting your immune system is a term that needs to be thrown out. It doesn't work with vitamin C, it doesn't really matter about boosting your immune system. Susceptibility to pertussis is typically a combined factor, such as genetic predisposition, and treatment once infected. 

 

The best suggestion I can give you is to vaccinate your child. I would also suggest forming a "bubble" of vaccinated individuals. It is when non-vaccinated individuals associate is when you get outbreaks like pertussis. The outbreaks are generally originating from low vaccination towns because it has far more vector candidates to hop to. I can speak personally about this, as my home town has a large proportion of dutch Reform christians who do not vaccinate, and we have had various outbreaks of long forgotten diseases such as rubella, pertussis and polio... 

 

Even if you don't vaccinate your children and yourself, which I suggest against, without exposure to an infect subject or object, your child will be safe. You need to remember that even if you are vaccinated, or have had pertussis previously, you are a vector. Washing your hands is the best way to prevent transmission, but accidents happen. You may rub your clothes with infected hands, and then wash your hands and think you are clean. 

 

Vaccinations are the best methods of preventative care available. Better to prevent than to treat the infection once contracted. If you allow for large numbers of non-vaccinated individuals you also allow for mutation points of the bacteria/virus (Pertussis is a bacterial pathogen) which can then screw over vaccinated individuals if it is able to mutate to a point of immunity to current vaccines.

 

The small pox virus was considered the first virus officially eradicated by human beings. This is because it has no animal vectors, and can only exist in humans. With everyone vaccinated, and no reported cases of small pox, the virus is technically extinct. We have been trying to do this with pathogens such as pertussis, MMR, polio, but due to vaccination controversies, and the fact many have vectors that can play host to the pathogen, it is prooving difficult.

 

Vaccines are the safest and most effective method of preventitive treatment available today. Your child will exist in a world without smallpox, and polio because of vaccines, and that is something to be happy about (: I hope you choose to vaccinate your child, but if not, know that your child endangers other non-vaccinated children, specifically ones who can't receive the vaccine even if they wanted to do to complications. These children are the most at risk. Herd immunity (high vaccination rates) protects these children and individuals. By not vaccinating your family, you do both your family, and your neighbours a disservice.

post #13 of 33

Reedbarnes-- I respecfully disagree about the immune system part.  Boosting your immune system is possible, although I don't know if you can avoid pertussis in this manner.  As I stated previously, I do vaccinate, but newborns are not fully vaccinated against pertussis until 6 months of age.  Since our babies are being born in cold and flu season, I think that this discussion is worthwhile.  Many moms on here choose not to vaccinate and I fully respect that decision. 

post #14 of 33

"A lot of common sense stuff - eating a wide variety of nutrient rich foods. EFA's definitely only increase in breastmilk if mama is taking in more. I'm thinking about Vit C? I wonder if a cold was going around if more vit c or sodium ascorbate would pass through - I'l have to look into it.

I wonder if Kellymom has any info on this....it's a little early for me to look right now, but I'll check back later." 
 
The vitamin C and sodium ascorbate is essentially and old wives tail brought into the new world. Taking more Vitamin C than your body can absorb in a day will do nothing but saturate your urine in vitamin C. Likely the real introduction of sodium ascorbate into the public eye may have been a result of media attention of a paper published by Prasad et al. that said it inhibits the growth of certain agents on neuroblastoma cells (in culture). Essentially, Vitamin C and sodium ascorbate are the same compound once dissolved into your bloodstream. It has to do with vitamin C being Acidic, making sodium ascorbate technically "basic" if you know a bit about chemistry. The two compounds won't attribute to an immune boosting effect, no matter what you read. 
 
Ask your physician about vitamin C/sodium ascorbate. The real benefits come not from vitamin C, but from the entire fruit. Eating fruit gives you sugar, water, various carbohydrates and a collage of other things your body needs. It makes you feel better because yes, it is good for you. 
 
As for a cold, the last thing you want to do is boost your immune system. The cold as well as a couple other viruses are due to hypersensitivities of our actual immune systems. The response by our immune system is typically over-exaggerated to the infection cause by the cold. Strong immune system or not, you will still have the characteristic effects of having a cold. You just need to wait it out, or treat the symptoms to relieve yourself. The best remedy is the same for everything. Rest, fluids, good food, (medication depending on type of infection), and regular visits to your physician, even when you aren't sick for check ups. 
 
Also, don't bring your kid in to your physician for a cold. The over prescribing of antibiotics to worried mothers is resulting in superbugs... A cold is a cold, it will get better. If the symptoms are severe then take your child in. If it is a sniffle... put them to bed. 

 

post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 

I'm also going to disagree with the above information. There is plenty of research on the benefits of Vit C - it is now available for some cancer therapies. There are studies in the vax forum on the use of sodium ascorbate to bowel tolerance to treat Whooping cough - whether it's passed through breastmilk was the question.

 

Also, there were families featured in the big California oubreak that "cacooned" their newborn, came down with "colds" (turned out to be a milder form of pertussis) and passed pertussis on to their baby. THey also have been noting how many vaccinated people are still coming down with pertussis (I know families with children fully vaxxed on schedule who have had it) So this is not a fail safe way to protect our babies. Pertussis peaks every 4-6 years according to the Canadian health care system - regardless of vaccination rates it seems, since vax rates have been high and continue to be high in our area particularly. If "herd immunity" works, then why does it go through this cycle - it's not just low vax communities - I live in very high vax community and am surrounded by high vax communities.

If people who are vaxed can still get pertussis, but symptoms are milder, it makes me think they're more likely to pass it on, b/c they don't know what the y have.

 

Nevermind the fact there are people that cannot vaccinate themselves or their other children. Reebarnes - I found your statement about putting others at risk extremely offensive -  DS had a nervous system reaction to his first vax. In the package insert from the drug company it states the need to consider carefully the risks vs benefits of further continuing the series - it's not something I take lightly, I could be putting my son at harm. Of course I don't want him to contract and pass it on to anyone, but I also have to protect him from having another potentially serious reaction.

 

I think the question about boosting immune systems was very important whether you choose to vaccinate or not b/c anyone could expose our babes, not just family.

post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelorum View Post

Bleh, I've been thinking about this too.  My family is all living in a county with bad rates of pertussis right now.  We will be living 3 1/2 hours away from them, but I do want them to see the baby when he's still little.  I need to look into the pertussis situation in the town we're moving to.  DS has not had any vaccines yet.  I'm not against them totally (for myself or anyone else), I just felt like I wanted to put it off when he was brand new, and now I feel like I need to do some more reading and thinking about which ones I want him to have and on what schedule, etc.  He was never sick as a baby.  His first illness was when he was 17 months old.  It probably  helped that dh worked at home (still does).  I worked very part time when ds was little, and ds came with me, but I wasn't really in contact with a lot people at work.  Ds won't be attending any formal pre-school or anything, but I'm going to have to get him out of the house for playgroups etc, or he'll go stir crazy.  He still doesn't get sick often, he had a few colds, and what I think was probably croup when he was in daycare a couple hours a day while I was finishing school, but never anything I needed to go to the doctor for (aside from the first illness at 17 mo). 

 

The DTaP vaccine just bugs me on so many levels.    From what I understand, the effectiveness of the Pertussis part sucks, and doesn't last as long as the D or T, so to stay up to date on the Pertussis, you are getting extra shots of the DT part.  And the level of D and T toxins in the vaccine is for some unknown reason way higher in the under 7 version of the vax than it is in the over 7 version (I think the over 7 is the TDaP?)  Also, even the sucky level of protection you get for Pertussis isn't until you've had 4 shots, the first shot is a primer and gives no immunity, and no one knows what level of immunity people have after the 2nd or 3rd.  I think I remember reading that the tetanus part of the vaccine is known to be more reactive, and I'm personally not really concerned about a little baby getting a tetanus.  If I could get a stand-alone pertussis vaccine I'd feel a lot better about it, but of course that's not available.  I think I might look into me and dh getting boosters, anyone have any info about getting a booster while pregnant?  I'm not sure what to do with ds, I'm not even sure if there's still time to get him the full series before the baby comes. 

 

Can I also just say that I hate that it seems like the majority of information about vaccines on both sides is so biased and alarmist?  Makes me feel like I can't trust anybody on the subject. 

 

This is really frightening, especially since the youngest babies are at the most risk. I'm considering not having any visitors for the baby's first couple of months, but how do I keep the ILs out without causing a family strife?

post #17 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisa View Post

 

This is really frightening, especially since the youngest babies are at the most risk. I'm considering not having any visitors for the baby's first couple of months, but how do I keep the ILs out without causing a family strife?

My Ped, when Ds was born happily said to tell anyone "the Dr said....." (about people visiting when sick) 

It's what I will do this time too. I'll just add a little more emphasis on the fact that the Dr said that anyone with ANY cold type symptoms (whether vaccinated or not) need to stay away, due the rise in pertussis in our area. I'll emphasis the fact the Dr has made a point about this being very important to protect the baby and stop the spread. 

 

Placing the blame on the Dr makes it easier to say to the IL's - "Oh I know, the Dr is very concerned and serious about this" and takes the fuel out the fire it may cause.

 

We'll be placing serious limits on visitors too - my family has already been given the heads up. My mom can't get the booster b/c she is on immuno-supressant drugs and it's contraindicated, so I've been very clear with her that even a runny nose means waiting to visit, she was a little crusty, but in the end understands why.

post #18 of 33

I'm glad you all are talking about this. Honestly, I had no idea this was an issue — and such a complex one since the vaccines don't even work until 6 mos old. I'm going to be calling the ped tomorrow to find out what our rates are in this area. Thanks for the heads up!

post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisa View Post

 

This is really frightening, especially since the youngest babies are at the most risk. I'm considering not having any visitors for the baby's first couple of months, but how do I keep the ILs out without causing a family strife?

 

You can't, esp if this is your first child. They will point out every other family who take their newborns out willy-nilly without assuming dire consequences. My mom was at the hospital when dd1 was born. She would have DIED if I had told her that she couldn't see dd1 for months b/c she *might* get her ill. DH goes to work every day, he might get us ill, but he cannot stop working. We talked about him getting the H1N1 vaccine two years ago to protect us while I was pg & dd2 was tiny, but it never got that bad around here, so he didn't (but he would have). A lot changes between kiddo #1 and kiddo #3. What will you do about winter holidays??

 

If you are giving birth in a hospital, you can ask them for your DTaP booster after your baby is born & they will give it to you there. Get it in your butt, it doesn't hurt v much :)

 

It would be a whole lot easier if the vaccine issue was black & white. I mean, measles, my kids probably won't die, but I'm not willing to risk an iron lung, kwim?

post #20 of 33

So, I admit I haven't looked myself for where exactly this information is, but this post (by a poster who seems to know her stuff) talks about "full" protection from pertussis only being after the 4th shot (which is sometime between 12 and 18 mo on the recommended schedule).  The old pertussis vaccine (DTP) was a 3 shot series, and the DT in the DTaP is still a 3 shot series, but the aP needs the 4th shot.

 

Also, there's some talk about the pertussis vaccine going on in the Sept DDC too http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1356261/whooping-cough-vaccinations

  Return Home
  Back to Forum: October 2012 Due Date Club
Mothering › Groups › October 2012 Due Date Club › Discussions › Pertussis vaccine OR how do we protect our babies