Preventing Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” in the newborn.

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Pertussis, also called “Whooping Cough” is a bacterial infection that you or your baby can catch when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Infected droplets can travel through the air, and if you inhale the droplets you can become infected with pertussis.  Whooping cough begins like a cold, with a mild fever and runny nose.  Most adults do not have severe symptoms, but they can pass pertussis on to a newborn very easily without realizing it.

Whooping cough is especially dangerous for a newborn because their immune system is not fully mature and they cannot fight this infection.  Babies cannot get the vaccine for pertussis until they are two months old.  Even after they start the vaccinations, they are not fully protected by the vaccines until they are a year old and have had three vaccinations for pertussis.  Whooping cough in a newborn is a very serious illness, and it often requires that the baby be admitted to the hospital for breathing problems or pneumonia.  Some babies who get whooping cough do not cough at all – they just stop breathing.  Newborns can die from whooping cough.

The entire family can help protect your newborn from whooping cough.  All teenagers and adults who are around your baby should get a pertussis booster, called Tdap.  The Tdap shot is a tetanus vaccine that includes pertussis.  If you are pregnant, the best time to get the Tdap vaccine is between 27-36 weeks of pregnancy.  Your body will have time to make antibodies against pertussis.  These antibodies are passed through the placenta to protect your baby.  You can protect your baby with antibodies long before your baby is old enough to get the pertussis vaccine.  After the baby is born, the antibodies are passed through your breast milk.

For more information:  http://www.cdc.gov/features/pertussis

-Kirstin Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife

Talking with baby

Community Health Association of Spokane Valley Clinic

 

Did you know something as simple as talking to your baby can help them be more successful in school?  75% of your baby’s brain development occurs in the first 2 years of life.  You are your baby’s first teacher!  The more words they are exposed to during this time the better.  Simple things like telling your child what you are doing, “Mommy is making your bottle now,” and pointing out things you see, “Look at the big red ball,” help their language develop.  You may be tempted to turn the TV on and let your baby be exposed to language that way.  Unfortunately, studies have shown this actually makes their language development worse.  Instead, turn the tv off and talk directly to your baby throughout the day, making eye contact with them, and giving them a chance to respond.  This helps with language and communication skills that are needed throughout life.

Books and songs are another way to help develop their language skills.  Sing simple songs over and over again, and you will quickly see that they will begin to recognize the song.  Exposing them to books is a great opportunity.  You might find your 6 month old baby has no interest in sitting down and reading a book, but let them explore books.  They will probably start by sticking it in their mouth, but soon they will start looking at the pictures, and before you know it they will have their own favorite book.  Your baby may not want to sit on your lap and read the entire book.  That’s ok!  Flip through the book with them.  Point out different pictures.  Practice animal sounds.  Your baby will enjoy the time spent cuddling with you, while also building a foundation for their developing language and a love for reading.

By Ashlee Mickelson, Physician

CHAS Gets National Recognition for Quality!

This week the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration announced quality improvement award funding for Community Health Centers. There are 1,300 health centers across the nation, and CHAS is one of just 57 health centers to be recognized as a “National Quality Leader”. National Quality Leaders are health centers that are the highest performers compared with national standards and benchmarks in key clinical areas. CHAS received the National Quality Leader award for exceeding national clinical benchmarks (Healthy People 2020 objectives and health center national averages) for chronic disease management, preventive care, and perinatal/prenatal care. This is a very prestigious national recognition! Additionally, CHAS was also recognized as a “Clinical Quality Improver” for demonstrating at least a 10 percent improvement in clinical quality measures between 2012 and 2013.

“This funding rewards health centers that have a proven track record in clinical quality improvement, which translates to better patient care, and it allows them to expand and improve their systems and infrastructure to bring the highest quality primary care services to the communities they serve,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

“These funds reward and support those health centers that have taken steps to achieve the highest levels of clinical quality performance and improvement,” said Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.

One of our core values is commitment to quality improvement, with that commitment, we are psyched to be on this list!  Readthe U.S. Health and Human Services’ national press release here.

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