Tis the season — for respiratory illnesses

By Anita Stoner - Preble County Public Health

PREBLE COUNTY — It is the season for respiratory illnesses, including colds, influenza, and pertussis (whooping cough). Preble County is certainly no exception. It is important for everyone in Preble County to be aware that these diseases are in our community and understand how to lower your risk of getting sick.

Respiratory illnesses are spread through droplets from the nose and mouth when a sick person coughs sneezes or blows their nose. The droplets get into another person’s nose or mouth or onto objects a person can touch and then transfer the germs to his nose or mouth. These are some steps that can reduce your risk of becoming sick:

1. Get your flu and pertussis vaccines (Dtap, Tdap).

2. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer gels if hand washing is not available.

3. Cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and throw away promptly.

4. In case a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your shoulder or elbow.

5. Someone who is sick should stay home to avoid infecting well persons.

6. Clean shared surfaces (door knobs, telephones, etc.) often.

Whooping cough is a very contagious illness that is common in the United States. It is a serious disease that can be deadly for babies. About half of babies younger than one year old who get whooping cough end up in the hospital. Unfortunately, babies don’t get vaccinated and start building protection against whooping cough until they are two months old. Getting vaccinated is still the best way to prevent whooping cough and its complications.

In addition, CDC recommends pregnant women get the whooping cough vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy, preferably during the earlier part of this time period. Women need a whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy to give each baby the greatest number of protective antibodies. Getting the vaccine during pregnancy is the best way to help protect your baby from whooping cough in early life.

Check with your Primary Care Provider, local Pharmacy, or Preble County Public Health for vaccine availability.

To keep up with other public health–related issues make sure to check out Preble County Public Health online at www.preblecountyhealth.org, through Facebook at www.facebook.com/PrebleCoHealth and on Twitter at @PrebleCoHealth! We are also available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m.-4 p.m. by phone at 937-472-0087.

By Anita Stoner

Preble County Public Health