Lewis County Health Department Offers Pertussis Vaccines - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Lewis County Health Department Offers Pertussis Vaccines

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After the newborn daughter of a Lewis County deputy contracted whooping cough, the Lewis County Health Department started offering vaccinations; and it might surprise you who they said should get a vaccination.

Tuesdays are busy for the Lewis County Health Department, but this one was different. Folks typically come for flu and shingles vaccines, but on Nov. 5, many were there to get a vaccine for pertussis, or whooping cough. It's a disease that can affect anyone, but is especially dangerous to babies like Oakley Kirkpatrick, who remained hospitalized on Tuesday.

"Especially in infants, they can't cough strong enough to get that mucus out of their airway, so it obstructs their breathing, they have periods of apnea, and usually you'll see that more in babies than you do in adults, they'll have periods where they don't breath because of the whooping cough," said Nurse Director Ginny Ruple.

Conventional wisdom used to say childhood vaccines were enough to develop an immunity for life, but now medical professionals say that's not the case. Even though adults can better fight the illness, Ruble said it's important that they're vaccinated for other reasons.

"But they're finding out that it's not lifetime like they thought it was, so the adults are getting the whooping cough, and we don't get it as severe, we just think we have a cold, cough, and we get over it, and we're giving it to the young babies that don't have their immunity or to the older people that their immune system is decreased."

The Lewis County Health Department can offer information about the disease, but it also said it's heard of many people getting information from social media websites, something that's not a good idea.

"People need to get their information from credible sources, and in the social media age, we all turn to that, but that's not where you're going to get the best and most accurate information," said Sanitarian David Whittaker.

Whittaker and Ruple both say the best resources are your doctor, your local health department and the Centers for Disease Control.

Ruble says the best way to find out exactly when vaccinations are available is to call the Lewis County Health Department before you go at 304-269-8218.