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Lab Mom

Lab Mom spent 15 years as a Lab Manager in Academia before off-tracking in 2010 to stay at home with her two daughters. She blogs about the juggling act of motherhood and a science career, which encompasses a lot more then the cliche work-life balance.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yes.. I am alive. I know it has been a while, and I want to apologize to all my LabSpaces cohorts for not stopping by sooner, but I didn't have it in me.

It turns out that I was one of the 17,000 cases of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) reported in the US this year. In case you weren't aware, adults need to be re-vaccinated for whooping cough with a DTaP booster at least every 10 years. (Frequently the Tdap booster is also called your "Tetanus shot" since it is also included along with Diphtheria.)

Unfortunately for me I was not (I thought I had been, but it turns out 10 years just fly by!)

Not only was my oversight stupid, but it was also dangerous. I have small children in my household (fortunately they have both been vaccinated, I'm not THAT stupid), and I constantly come into contact with other small children (some of which have not.) Don't even get me started about childhood vaccinations. If you really want my opinion, you can read it here, but I am not going to rehash that topic.

We aren't just talking about a little chest cold here. In children pertussis can be fatal. At least 10 deaths have been reported in a California outbreak this year (a fifty year high.) In adults it is rarely deadly, but in my case it felt like it was going to be. My cough spun off into a secondary pneumonia which wiped me out for a good 10 weeks. At one point I was down to 30% lung capacity. It was AWFUL.

So I am taking this chance to ask you to make sure you have had your DTaP booster. If not for you, for the other morons people out there who have either forgotten (like me) or chosen to not vaccinate themselves or their children.

The blogger you save could be one of your own!

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Dr. O
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OMG, so glad to hear you're okay! It's good to have you back!!

FYI, Hubby and I got our TDaPs before and right after the Monkey was born, so we're covered. ;)

Lab Mom
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Dr. O said:

FYI, Hubby and I got our TDaPs before and right after the Monkey was born, so we're covered. ;)

I KNOW! All my girlfriends are telling me that it is SOP to get vaxxed for that in the hospital! I can't believe I didn't get one.

Well, I got it now.  Not taking any chances. I don't want to relive this again!


Genomic Repairman
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Glad you are in back in good health and spirits.

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Glad to read this! As I found out when I got my booster of Tdap, it happened to be a tdp (the cheaper one) .... also the one the one with the old school vacination and not as much protection for pertussis...


I'm happy you are ok now! Can¨t believe you got sick for 10 weeks - it's a good thing you are feeling good now!! All the best!

biochem belle
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There is serious lack of public education (at least in the U.S.) with regards to pertussis vaccination. When I first moved to postdoc city, it had been ages since I'd had a tetanus shot, and occ health recommended I receive one, which I did, but it was only Td. I didn't even know about Tdap vaccination--or that I should be vaccinated against whooping cough!--until I started with my new employer and someone in occ health mentioned it and explained the difference. But, it seems, you have to wait 2 years between vaccinations, so I can't be re-vaccinated until next year. Another point I recall from the CA outbreak is the infants who died were too young to be vaccinated against pertussis, further highlighting the importance that adults and older children are vaccinated.

Glad to hear you're back with us, LabMom!

27 and a PhD
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So glad you're back and kicking a$$ ... I got a "friendly reminder" to get my booster back in grad school ... either I got it or I would be kicked out (not really, but you catch my drift). 10 years do fly by. I'll check my immunization record to see if there's something else I need.

Dr. O
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The scariest part is that most adults who get pertussis don't exhibit very severe symptoms - just a runny nose/allergies - so an unvaccinated person could pretty easily pass it on to your unvaccinated newborn.

@LabMom - I was told by my OB that it was pretty automatic to at least ask new moms about their TDaP boosters at the birth, but they never brought it up at the hospital. I asked about it several times while in recovery, and still never got it. I ended up having to drive back down to my doctor later that week to get the booster. So even those who know best how important it is can be a little out of it about making sure it gets done.

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I can delete my half-written post on this now! I'm glad you're back and well again. PtX kills horribly and adults are the prime vector in most US and northern EUropean populations.

Get your fucking DTap now. (and yes I have been boosted recently)

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