It started as a sore throat…
My son developed a headache and sore throat a few weeks ago, nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn’t until he fell asleep at 4pm one afternoon that I realised something was up. He’s 11 and had dropped his daytime naps many years ago.
I asked my husband to take him to the doctor for a checkup while I was at work. “While you’re there, can you ask them to test him for whooping cough, because the school sent out an alert saying someone in his class had it,” I told him. Later, my husband told me that the doctor scoffed at his suggestion to have Philip swabbed for whooping cough and Henry had to insist on it, saying, “My wife will be really angry if I don’t get it.”
A few days later I was having coffee with a friend when our very surprised doctor rang to say Philip had tested positive to bacterium Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough) and that our entire family was to come to his office immediately. Once there, we were all tested and were all instructed to take a very strong antibiotic for five days.
We were not to leave the house if possible, to prevent the spread.
This little baby girl has whooping cough. WARNING: This is incredibly difficult to watch.
According to Seven News, there has been a 300% increase in incidents of whooping cough in Sydney with the Hills District reporting the biggest increase. All I can guess is that the anti-vaccination movement has succeeded in tricking some parents into thinking vaccinations are dangerous, despite all the expert opinions assuring us that they are not.
Philip ended up being the only one in our family to test positive, however a week later I received another alert from his school reporting a third case of whooping cough. I asked our doctor why Philip had gotten it at all? We are a fully immunised family. He explained that vaccination rates in Sydney’s Hills Shire are dropping.
I was gobsmacked. We’re considered an ‘upper-income area’. We’re educated, we’re conscientious, we are devoted to our children. Why on earth are so many of us opting out of vaccinations?
Our doctor explained that vaccinations only work “if majority of people get them”. And here’s the real danger…while my son only had a headache, a sore throat, fatigue and a terrible cough for a few weeks, if he had come into contact with a family who has a newborn baby, the elderly or someone whose health was compromised by illness, it could cause death. The very thought horrified me.