Whooping cough on the rise

BRISTOL, Tenn. - A child's health is a huge concern for parents, but what if the closer you have your child to you, the greater the risk of giving them an illness if you aren't vaccinated. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, whooping cough cases hit a nearly 60-year record high number of cases in 2012.

The whooping cough starts out like the common cold, but after the runny nose and fever go away, the annoying cough sticks around. "It begins to go away, but the cough actually gets worse. Constant, dry hacking, irritating cough with almost every breath," said Doctor Tom Makres.

We learned the cases in Tennessee, along with nearly 20 other states, tripled in whooping cough cases and Doctor Makres believe it's because the vaccine wears down with age.

They say if it's not treated, the whooping cough can cause pneumonias to form. "It can be serious if they're young especially if they are under 6 months old, under 1 month of age it could actually be life threatening," said Makres.

We learned it is passed through the air, making it contagious.

Summer Bauer, a toddler teacher at the Littlest Angel Child Care Center says they've not had a case of whooping cough yet and make sure everyone is clean when watching after the babies. "Prevention is just hand washing. We cannot stress enough to anybody that comes into the room, please stop what you're doing and wash your hands," said Bauer.

And not even the babies are exempt from that rule, but they told me they don't stop there. "If one is snotty, which this time of year happened, especially in group care, we are more stringent with washing toys and hands but also pacifiers and things like that," said Bauer.

Doctor Makres says one of the best ways to prevent it is to get yourself and your family vaccinated with a booster shot. "Although as they're not necessarily life-long, these booster shots should protect most people," said Mares.

We learned many hospitals are giving the booster vaccine, known as T-DAP to mothers before they leave the hospital with their new baby.

If you'd like more information on this booster shot, click here.

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