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Cocooning protects babies

November 4, 2012
Reinbeck Courier

Everyone in a baby's life needs to get vaccinated against whooping cough and flu! What is cocooning? Babies younger than 6 month old are more likely to develop certain infectious diseases than older children are. Cocooning is a way to protect babies from catching diseases from the people around them people like their parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, child-care providers, babysitters and healthcare providers. One these people are vaccinated, they are less likely to spread these contagious diseases to the baby. They surround the baby with a cocoon of protection against disease until he or she is old enough to get all the doses of vaccine needed to be fully protected.

Why is cocooning important? Babies less than 6 months old are too young to have received all the doses of vaccine that are needed to protect them from whooping cough (pertussis), flu (influenza) and other dangerous diseases. To be fully protected, babies need to get all the vaccine doses in a series not just the first dose.

Unvaccinated adults and family members, including parents, are often the ones who unknowingly spread dangerous diseases to babies. Nancy Haren, Public Health nurse reports that many Iowa counties have had cases of pertussis, "It is all around us, we knew we would eventually see cases in Grundy County." She also reported that influenza is circulating in the state and in the county.

How do we protect babies? Cocooning is an easy and effective way that people can work together to prevent the spread of whooping cough and flu to babies. Every one age 6 months and older need to receive a flu vaccine every year. All children should be vaccinated on schedule with DTaP, all teenagers and adults need a one- time dose of Tdap vaccine. Unvaccinated women who might become pregnant should receive the Tdap vaccine. Pregnant women who haven't been vaccinated with Tdap should receive a dose in the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy. This protects the pregnant woman as well as her baby. Everyone has the opportunity to protect babies by getting vaccinated themselves.



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