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Thread: Pertussis Outbreaks - why I am now going to vaccinate Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-02-2013 01:04 PM
janinvan

Thanks for letting us know your situation! Vaccines may not offer bullet-proof protection, but they are usually better than nothing.

12-31-2012 12:35 AM
prosciencemum Thansk for sharing. Can't be easy for you (either time wise, or from concern of the response).

I think parenthood makes us all more pragmatic and less idealistic. I have a fun book called "I was a really great mother before I had kids" which touches on that (although of course in reality we all get better with practice, we just might have a higher opinion of our skills/ideal methods before having the kids!).
12-30-2012 02:42 PM
at_the_hip
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breathless Wonder View Post

I am very sorry your children have had such a rough time of it.  Illness of any kind can certainly wear on you when you have a big family.  I'm never sure which is worse- all of us getting it at once, or in succession.  I hope you are all healthy soon!

 

I am just curious as to whether any of you have had a positive swab for pertussis, or if you were diagnosed based on symptoms, and the notion that pertussis was "going around"?  I know I would want to know for sure what I had, before making any decision regarding treatment- prophalactic or acute. 

 

My family caught something back in early October.  I was VERY sick.  Coughing, couldn't catch my breath, vomiting, dizzy- for a month.  I was told it was probably this year's flu, which was "going around" in my area.  But without a swab, I'll never know what it was.  I know that for myself, it is easier to have a clear and simple plan of attack when I've had a full night's sleep, am reasonably healthy myself, and am not surrounded by sick and needy children. :-) It can be a tricky thing, to evaluate my decision in the midst of crisis.  I hope whatever decision you have made is the right one for your family!

 

Wishing you good health in the new year!

 It's very true that it is exhausting to have illness amidst a big family!!  I don't like it dragging on but bathrooms can become an issue if it is everyone at once so I much prefer some kind of delay LOL.

 

The 9yo and 11yo are probable/highly suspect cases of pertussis in their official words.  A swab was taken and should be back to confirm tomorrow but there's no doubt in my mind.  I've never seen a cough like it and I've seen plenty!!  When the healthcare professionals finally saw one of the severe fits, the Dr took a big step back and they were pretty darn sure what it was. It is fairly classic in its presentation and my expectation is pertussis (as are the health care professionals who have seen other cases in the community), which is why they did not hesitate to prescribe antibiotics for everyone else.

 

As for the point in getting the vaccination, there's no way to know for certain that the 3 of us who likely had it first actually did since we are beyond the 'swab' stage, and I have a baby due in April.  Beyond that we had decided just prior (literally, days) to coming down sick to go ahead with some of the shots due to the pertussis outbreak, upcoming baby etc.  Our kids are getting older and it is much harder to control the spread of illness now...we feel for us personally it is the best choice as we haven't been able to trust others to keep their children home while sick.  I know we risk more issues with things like ear infection by getting the shots but honestly the risk is there with any illness they acquire, vaccine or natural.  I do want them protected from tetanus in the case of some kind of catastrophic burn or just because kids don't always tell us when they get hurt or take care of it properly.  Being that I have an interest in horses plays into that part of the decision as well.

 

Beyond all this, I also see the huge stigma in not vaccinating and the tendency to blame those who choose not to for any serious outcome or spread of disease.  I do not agree with this but I do see the logic in vaccinating against pertussis in this current state of affairs (where the vaccinated are still subclinically spreading it - how can we protect ourselves from something that presents as a simple cold?). 

 

There's no easy answer but I can tell you that life is filled with these kinds of decisions and there's no way to know what the perfect choice is except to do our best as a parent in love and pray for a safe outcome for our children.  My Mom died of colon cancer just last year at 52 and I can tell you that sometimes awful awful things happen that we can't control at all.  It really did make me re-evaulate my choices for my kids and myself, knowing that while no choice may be without risk, I also wasn't willing to go without trying.  My Mom in courage faced dozens of rounds of chemo which was the onlly thing that kept her alive to spend an extra year + with us.  Ideal situation?  Absolutely not.  But she took the risk to give her a quality of life and the extra months with her kids and grandkids and I am grateful.  She didn't take medication, nor flu vaccines, nor smoked, etc etc...she was simply overlooked in screening despite having stomach issues her entire life.  For that we lost her forever.  My Dad who has taken every single flu vaccine (they are free at work, after all LOL), medication whenever he felt off or required it, is an ox and rarely ever gets sick at all. We are all different and choosing one path or another won't guarantee wellness or illness.  My sister's kids are fully vaccinated and have had more illnesses than my kids have BUT they also are less aware of hygiene and are public schooled.  They are both intelligent, well adjusted and certainly not damaged children.  My sister might tell me 'I told you so' when she finds out the kids got the shots in the end.  But that's not going to make my decision either.  ;)

 

I personally have eaten my words many times over the years and over many pregnancies and children.  I have had 3 homebirths and have had to humble myself and come to the decision that my next may be born in the hospital.  I just don't have easy births...vaginal ones yes but I have had severe hemmorrhages and/or posterior presentations, stuck shoulders, etc - basically complications with every birth so far.  Have I had amazing births at home?  Yes and no.  I loved being home and being less interfered with, and staying in my own bed.  But I am not willing to risk mine and my baby's lives for this preference either.  Sometimes we have to make decisions we don't think we'd ever have to make and do the best we can.  Life can kick your butt especially if you are too rigid to realise when it's time to change the plan.  LOL 

 

What I am saying is that if I had one or two kids who were older now and/or a less severe experience with pertussis or just less risk in general (ie, no small children and/or infants/pregnant), my choices might be different.  If I had easy short births without complications then I would stay home and birth no question.  But life rarely goes as we expect and while I don't judge others for their choices, I re-evaluate mine with the current wisdom I possess.  :)  I do eat my words, many times.  But I also fiercely love my family and will strive to give them the best of what I know at any given point of my life~

12-30-2012 12:56 PM
Breathless Wonder

I am very sorry your children have had such a rough time of it.  Illness of any kind can certainly wear on you when you have a big family.  I'm never sure which is worse- all of us getting it at once, or in succession.  I hope you are all healthy soon!

 

I am just curious as to whether any of you have had a positive swab for pertussis, or if you were diagnosed based on symptoms, and the notion that pertussis was "going around"?  I know I would want to know for sure what I had, before making any decision regarding treatment- prophalactic or acute. 

 

My family caught something back in early October.  I was VERY sick.  Coughing, couldn't catch my breath, vomiting, dizzy- for a month.  I was told it was probably this year's flu, which was "going around" in my area.  But without a swab, I'll never know what it was.  I know that for myself, it is easier to have a clear and simple plan of attack when I've had a full night's sleep, am reasonably healthy myself, and am not surrounded by sick and needy children. :-) It can be a tricky thing, to evaluate my decision in the midst of crisis.  I hope whatever decision you have made is the right one for your family!

 

Wishing you good health in the new year!

12-30-2012 12:50 PM
Taximom5 I'm wondering what the point is of getting the vaccine after you've already had the disease?
12-30-2012 12:29 PM
prosciencemum Gosh I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I hope everyone is well soon.
12-30-2012 12:12 PM
at_the_hip

This is a current illness for us.  I don't know if we will be pulling titres...likely not because we have all obviously been exposed.  We will be vaccinated once everyone is on the mend because we were planning to anyway before this happened, but we are all on antibiotics.  I can tell you that for hubby, 13yo and I, despite not being 'up to date' on our vaccine (my 13yo only had her first 2 shots at 2 and 4 months), our symptoms were next to nothing (more like a cold, hubby a sore throat).  I can also tell you that despite having caught this from our surrounding community I do not know of anyone suffering like my non-vaxxed 9yo and 11yo have.  The 4yo had it pretty rough too but is definitely on the mend as of the last couple of days.  The 11yo seems to be sleeping better and only up a few times during the night now, but the 9yo has it awful.  She's up every 30 min to 1 hour whooping and struggling to breathe, all night.  I'm sure this is circulating and for us it would have been worth having them even partially covered by shots.  Sure they might still have caught it but very likely not like this.  Vaccines are imperfect and may confer only partial immunity but given that the vast majority of the population is covered in this way, I feel we are more at risk not covered at all...obviously these diseases pass more readily through the unvaxxed and we have 5 (soon to be 6) kids who can't count on others staying home when they are sick like we do.    Part of the reason we decided we were going to vax the kids for most shots just before they got sick is that dh and I do feel like we have an advantage knowing we had the shots and we want that for our kids.  It is SO HARD to make such a decision because we all want what is best for our kids and wading through the information (which I feel is biased on both sides to extremes) makes it extremely difficult.  I am scared to do it but I am scared not to.  I am tired, though, of living in fear and we are going to make the best decision we can moving forward and leave the rest in God's hands, as always. 

 

Let me know if you have any more questions!

12-29-2012 11:27 PM
lanamommyphd07

Will you be pulling titres on everyone? Or did you get the vax's already? I couldn't tell if this was is a current illness in your fam....

I ask because before travelling later this year I plan to check a few out for dd as mine were still good two years ago...I'm just wondering about the cost. (understanding, of course that titres will not guarantee immunity / but neither does the vax/ the whole thing boggles me sometimes)

12-29-2012 10:33 PM
japonica

Hope your kids are feeling better soon.

 

My up-to-date hubby (the vaccine was a work related booster) brought it home to our house and gave it to our unvaxed DS (then 23 months old). DH's case was not mild by any stretch of the imagination and from his perspective, he's not getting another booster because he feels it was basically a dud for him. I won't get one either because I was up-to-date when I had pertussis back in the 80s. DS recovered without complications, but then I was diligent with the SA for our son while DH is an adult and makes his own decisions re: his own course of treatment. 

 

Every family has to do what's best for their members. Based on our own experiences, we know we'll be crossing the pertussis vax off our list.

12-29-2012 06:09 PM
Rrrrrachel

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

12-29-2012 06:02 PM
Turquesa No judgment here! I finally went for it with my kids based on a couple of your reasons. Namely, I'm banking on my kids having at least a lower chance of getting pertussis and, barring that, getting a slightly milder case. The jury still seems to be out on whether cocooning works, as well has whether it's safe enough for pregnant women. But as your post suggests, vaccines are always an issue to visit and revisit, and the pertussis issue is a complex one. Even when it's not dangerous, pertussis can be a major PITA. I hope your kids are feeling better!
12-29-2012 05:39 PM
at_the_hip

As with many other areas, there has been a resurgence in pertussis cases.  Most are in the vaccinated, yes, but the problem with not being vaccinated is exactly what happened to my family, and why I have had a change of heart in my decision not to vaccinate:

 

My husband and I had our standard vaccinations, which would have been DPT back in the day.  My 13yo daughter only had the first two sets of vaccinations which included 2 DTaP shots.

 

When exposed to pertussis circulating in our community, my husband had a sore throat with no sequele...I had a heavy cold with a bad cough that lasted a few weeks (not surprising since I am pregnant) and the same with my 13yo, with a little less severity for her.

 

As for the younger 4, they did not have it so easy.  Sure they may end up with full immunity to pertussis (at least severely), but my 9yo and 11yo have suffered tremendously with uncontrollable coughing fits that wake them up every hour or two and leave them gasping for breath, gagging and sometimes vomiting.  They are exhausted.  The mama is exhausted...sometimes running upstairs to comfort them dozens of times in a couple hours.  My 4yo has been up many nights herself and while not to the severity of the older two, it could break your heart to see her cough.  My 2yo is just starting to cough.  When the 9yo and 11yo started whooping and the severe cough we took them in to be seen and we have now been prescribed antibiotics for the entire family.  While I suspect the oldest 3 of us were exposed first, we won't take any chances in spreading it to anyone, and because I am 25 weeks pregnant.  I am hopeful that they will prevent my youngest little one from getting to the severe cough point. 

 

I am well versed in homeopathy and it helped my 4yo some but the 9yo and 11yo are still pushing through it.

 

We have always said that we will choose not to vaccinate but always been willing to re-evaluate our decisions like any other.  When we found out the pertussis was circulating in our region we had decided to go ahead with the shots and even called the health dept...the kids came down sick literally 2 days later and the shots were postponed.  Sick irony if you ask me!

 

Does it solve the problem that the DTaP vaccine is not preventing the illness completely? Of course not...but I can see that my children are safer vaccinated and having a subclinical case that looks more like a cold, than suffering as they are now.  It is horrible and I know many will disagree (and I understand...but remember this is always risk vs. benefit), but right now I see my family's risk of getting these diseases without the shots in an extreme form a greater risk because of the possibility of it being spread subclinically by the 'herd immunity'.  I wish my kids were amongst the many who had their shots and had a heavy cold with a cough instead of what could be months of suffering.  We don't see the actual diseases often and while I don't believe my children are at risk of death, if the timing was different or we had young babies in our lives (or we weren't as careful as some people and went out sick, which we don't), that could be different.

 

I know I wil catch flack but this is one mama who is willing to take the risk of the shots, even for partial coverage for my kids.


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