As parents, we give our children a lot. We give hugs, we give baths, and we give time. We give compliments, encouragement, and instructions. We dole out second helpings, we lavish with tickles, and we offer advice. But there is something that I do not want to give my children, and that is sickness.
A friend of mine recently informed me about the Sounds of Pertussis campaign. She asked if I would use this blog write about a current initiative to raise awareness and reduce the number of infant pertussis cases (commonly known as whooping cough) in the US. This year, Sounds of Pertussis is sponsoring a contest where the public can submit a video of themselves singing an original, educational, and creative song about pertussis. Click here to learn more about the contest.
My heart breaks when my girls come down with simple head colds that turn them into coughing, mucousy messes who would rather crash on the couch than to bounce off it, and I know that my children recover from head colds. But pertussis is not an average cough. It can be fatal, especially in infants. In fact, according to the Sounds of Pertussis website, when a source can be identified, over 80% of pertussis cases occur because a family member -- primarily a parent -- has spread it to his or her child.
That is not something I want to give.
While in the hospital after giving birth to Kerrintgton three months ago, it was highly encouraged that I received the Tdap vaccine to prevent this. Our pediatrician has informed us that pertussis is making a resurgence in our area, and my husband has made the choice to get vaccinated as well.
If you're like me (musically challenged and unable to think of a good rhyme for pertussis), then perhaps the song contest isn't a viable option for you. But maybe getting the vaccine is. Because I'm guessing that you are like me in one important way: we both want to continue giving hugs, instructions, and love to those special children in our lives -- not a potentially fatal cough.