Whooping cough is on the rise--and it's freaking me out!

The first piece of advice one of my old colleagues shared with me when she found out I was pregnant last year was to make sure I didn't fuss too much over my soon-to-be-born son. And I'm happy to report that so far, I haven't become a crazy over-protective, over-fussy mami. But I have to be honest: The one thing that does turn me into THAT mom is all the talk lately of the rise in whooping cough.

Health officials in New York, the area where I live, just last week reported 970 cases of this potentially deadly disease in the course of this year alone--a gigantic rise from last year when there were 931 cases for the entire year!


Read more in ¿Qué más?: Why whooping cough scares me!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also reporting that the disease, also known as pertussis, has seen a 44 percent rise throughout the United States. As it stands, we're on track to have the worst year of whooping cough in five decades. Yikes!

I'm sure you've seen the commercial scaring the Bejeezus out of every mom watching warning that your arms could be your child's most dangerous place to be. I saw it for the first time a few weeks ago and wanted to cry.

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Instead of panicking, though, I'm trying to remember to be logical about the statistics. Yes, whooping cough is on the rise, but according to officials, the disease itself is of a cyclical nature, so that it rises and falls every four to five years. Although there have been so many cases this year, it calms me to know that this is one of the vaccines that is first on my baby's immunization schedule: The five-shot series called DTaP, which he just got at his 2-month doctor's visit and which he'll get again at 4, 6, 18 months and again when he's about 4. We just have to be good about getting those vaccines on time!

And this weekend, I'm sitting down and calling my doctor about getting my husband and myself vaccinated. I'll ask that my parents, who are taking care of my son, get the vaccine also. Being calm and smart about this is the most important I can do right now. For all our sakes!

What others steps should I take to prevent this disease? What to you think is the best method to deal with this epidemic?

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