Tdap Vaccinations At Public Health

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Teton County Public Health Department will be offering free Tdap (tetanus and diphtheria with pertussis) vaccine to adults without insurance at the St. John’s Community Health Fair on May 7th, 2016 at the Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation.

The offer comes as Teton County experiences an increasing number of cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, a potentially serious infection that is also occurring in increasing numbers throughout the state and nation.

“We have seen widespread infection represented in both the adult and infant/child populations,” said County Health Officer, Dr. Travis Riddell. Pertussis is a potentially serious illness and can be life threatening for infants.

“We now know that pertussis is now endemic in our community, requiring a heightened need for vaccination and treatment of those presenting with the illness,” Riddell stated.

Seventy doses of the Tdap vaccine will be available at the Public Health booth during the event, while supplies last. The vaccine will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, for those individuals without insurance. Those with insurance can receive their vaccination at their health care provider, local pharmacies, or from Teton County Public Health.

Teton County is experiencing an outbreak of pertussis this year, with 19 cases diagnosed since August 2015. All adults who have not received a booster of the Tdap vaccine in the last 10 years are encouraged to receive one at this time. All infants, pregnant women and those with pre-existing immunocompromised conditions that may be exacerbated by a Pertussis infection are especially at risk and need to ensure their pertussis vaccine is up to date. Parents should also check their child’s immunization records and ensure they are up to date.

Teton County Public Health also encourages those with a cough illness to seek medical care and treatment if indicated. Early symptoms can last for one to two weeks and usually include:

 Runny nose

  •   Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
  •   Mild, occasional cough
  •   Apnea – a pause in breathing (in babies)

Because pertussis in its early stages appears to be nothing more than the common cold, it is often not suspected or diagnosed until the more severe symptoms appear.

After one to two weeks and as the disease progresses, the traditional symptoms of pertussis may appear and include:

  •   Paroxysms (fits) of many, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop”
  •   Vomiting (throwing up) during or after coughing fits
  •   Exhaustion (very tired) after coughing fits

Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and you are forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound. This extreme coughing can cause the patient to throw up and be very tired. Coughing fits generally become more common and bad as the illness continues, and can occur more often at night. The coughing fits can go on for up to 10 weeks or more.

For more information or questions about pertussis, please call Teton County Public Health at 733-6401.

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