Darcy Schock used a tape recorder to help diagnose his daughter Emily with whooping cough as a baby
Are your vaccinations up-to-date? If not, you could be contributing to an outbreak of Pertussis or whooping cough. To adults it's not much different than the common cold, but to young children it can be deadly.
Emily Schock is a perfectly healthy human being. 14 years earlier however, was a much different story. At just 7 weeks old Emily caught a cough that simply wouldn't go away.
"Finally it got to the point that this coughing was more than just a common cold and so finally I recorded it." Said Darcy Schock, Emily's father.
A clever and life-saving decision, as it doesn't take long for anyone to realize this is not normal.
These violent coughs and heavy wheezing would be painful for even a grown adult
"I called our physician and said I'd like you to listen to this and he said fine go ahead and play it for me, so I played it for them for about 20 seconds and he said well I think you should take your daughter to the emergency room." Said Schock.
Despite being a first time father, Darcy had just helped diagnose his daughter. Emily tested positive for Pertussis or whooping cough.
"For people younger than two it's serious and life-threatening, it can shut off your airway, they cough so hard they often vomit and lose consciousness and pass out and need to be hospitalized." Dr. Lyle Biegler, a family practice physician at Avera St. Luke's.
Whooping cough can still affect adults, but it's far less fatal and is typically a persistent cough and sore throat. The main concern is controlling the spread to babies. That all starts with adults keeping up on their vaccines.
"Tetanus and Pertussis vaccinations are given together but after five years the immunity starts to go down and after 10 years you need another booster." Said Dr. Biegler.
Unfortunately there are many people who haven't been keeping up.
"We but we probably didn't as a medical field what people know about that very well until 2004 we saw cases of it started to go back up again and I think in South Dakota in 2004 was the most cases that were reported around a hundred." Said Dr. Biegler.
As of November, South Dakota has already seen 62 confirmed cases of whooping cough and those numbers are expected to rise. But there is a silver lining, with rising numbers and heightened awareness, many people will revisit their medical history.
"Come in now if you haven't been immunized but if you have a cough that lasts longer than two weeks you definitely want to speak with your pediatrician or primary care doctor." Said Dr. Biegler.
Being proactive is especially important for parents and grandparents. Take it from Darcy, one shot can make all the difference.
"I believe vaccines are a good thing and I would do anything not to, I would take any vaccine not to pass it along, pass along that to my child." Said Schock.
Babies are immunized for whooping cough starting at two months Emily was still a week away from getting her first shot. None of her family members tested positive for the disease. For more information on whooping cough just call 877-AT-AVERA.