Think you're too old to get a vaccination for whooping cough?
While whooping cough was once thought to be a disease of the past, cases for 2012 have now reached 26,000, with more expected to be reported by the end of the year.
That's compared with the 5,000 or fewer cases normally reported in a year.
It appears that vaccinations given years ago are no longer effective.
Those most at risk are infants who can be infected by their parents or grandparents.
Often these older caregivers don't even know they have the disease.
Symptoms usually develop within seven to 10 days after exposure. The illness begins with mild upper-respiratory tract symptoms and progresses to a cough.
Fever is absent or minimal. Whooping cough can strike people of any age. Its name comes from the sound infected children make when they gasp for breath.
First and foremost, make sure your children are getting their vaccinations.
Then, if you take care of young children, ask your doctor if you need a booster shot, too.
Vaccines are available through city and county health departments, as well as through some pharmacies.
In this age, we can prevent whooping cough. But it's up to you to take preventative steps.
-- The Joplin Globe Joplin, Mo.