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By Allyson Marrs

Pertussis: "A highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing."

Since science has discovered the microscopic culprits to many illnesses, people have been eager to do what they can to counter their debilitating effects, signing up for vaccines quicker than they're offered. But when our children are involved, concerns take the spotlight.

History has shown us that people are vehement for solutions. When the polio vaccine was introduced in the early 1900s, questions about repercussions were few and far between. But, as the decades roll by, and diseases like polio become a rare occurrence, people tend to forget about the paralyzing nature of the harms they previously so eagerly protected themselves, and their children, against.

Their focus on prevention eventually shifts to scrutiny.

Perhaps it's useful to remember what life was like before science introduced vaccines.

March of Dimes, whose mission is "to improve the health of children by preventing premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality," is among the groups trying to educate parents. "Vaccinations and prevention of childhood diseases are tied to our original mission, current mission and our history as an organization," said Gina Legaz, State Director of Programs and Public Affairs for March of Dimes. "We fund research into new vaccines with potential for preventing birth defects."

The Sounds of Pertussis campaign is part of March of Dimes, focusing specifically on the contagious, deadly disease and educating parents about vaccinations against it.

Preparing Parents against Pertussis
Parents can take precautions by getting vaccinated, themselves. The Sounds of Pertussis aims to educate parents, caregivers and anyone else in contact with children about preventing whooping cough in infants and small children, which can be paralyzing and deadly.

This upper respiratory infection is moved through the air. If an infected individual sneezes or coughs, it easily spreads. Nowadays, most children are vaccinated before they enter school, meaning the majority of carriers are adults.

Immunity begins to waver after 5 to 10 years, so getting vaccinated as a child isn't enough.

Once infected, infants will need around-the-clock care, and cases are typically severe. The best protection is prevention.

To get vaccinated, contact your physician or stop by a local Bartell Drugstore.

Although viewpoints will continue to differ for the pro- and con-vaccination camps, both sides are ultimately fighting the same battle: doing everything they can to keep children safe and healthy.

For more information on March of Dimes and Sounds of Pertussis, visit and

• At first, similar to the common cold
• Severe coughing episodes
• Coughing that leads to vomiting or short loss of consciousness
• In infants, choking spells
• Slight fever

wellness warrior

wellness photoBETTER AS A TEAM
By Allyson Marrs

Each month, we'll feature a Bellevue Club member who's made a change in his or her life with the help of the Club's Wellness program.

Couples celebrate many anniversaries. Each is important in its own right, but perhaps, not always life-changing. This month, it's members Kevin and Alicia Austin's one-year anniversary. The past 365 days have been paid in sweat and sore muscles. It's been one year since they've joined the Bellevue Club and decided to get their health back on track.

Focusing most of their time on work—Alicia teaching junior high school science and Kevin running a seven-attorney law firm—working out didn't seem to fit into the schedule. "It had been a long time since either of us took it seriously," said Kevin.

They began working with personal trainer Melanie Baker three to four times a week. The buddy system has kept them both motivated. "They can be hard workouts, but the three of us usually find something to laugh about during the sessions," the pair said. "We love any exercise where we hold hands or get to hit or throw stuff at each other."

With busy schedules and constant obligations, simply having a trainer holds enough persuasion to make working out part of the everyday routine. "Using a professional trainer is worth every penny.  People will spend lots of money on doctors when they get sick, but having a trainer creates commitment and is preventative medicine," Kevin and Alicia said. "We don't know why we waited so long to start this."

The Austins have made healthier eating (Sunday brunches of cucumbers and vinegar or cottage cheese at Luna Express are a favorite) a habit, and they're reaping the countless benefits—from sleeping more soundly to more activity throughout their daily lives.

They've also added in a touch of fun. "We are willing to do things that we just didn't trust our bodies with before. We recently ran a 5K with our son on the back lot of Universal Studios, past the Jaws village and the Psycho House," they said.

They've also started skiing again. It had been four years for Alicia and more than a dozen years for Kevin, since they hit the slopes. "It is so much fun to be able to move, to be more flexible and have more aerobic energy," they said. "It's easier to do things in life."

The Bellevue Club offers a variety of wellness programs, classes and seminars. In addition, if you want a more individualized approach, the Club's Your Body, Your Life program might be for you. Call 425-688-3461 or email for more information.


Wellness Coordinator: Jason Kennedy | 425-688-3461 |

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