Superstar Joins Vaccine Cause

04.29.09 Jennifer Lopez supports effort to fight whooping cough


Look who's adding her name to the children's advocate list: J.Lo

Superstar Jennifer Lopez has added her voice in raising awareness about the fight against pertussis, also known as whooping cough, the Miami Herald reports. Lopez is the new spokeswoman for the Sounds of Pertussis campaign to let adults know that it's important to get immunized for the disease so they don't unwittingly pass it to their children, the Herald reports. The mother-of-twins is featured in TV and radio public service announcements about the issue, both in English and Spanish.

"This issue is important to me. I didn't know too much about it before becoming a parent, but whooping cough is on the rise," Lopez said. "The message is that infants are at risk of getting pertussis from the adults around them, and the disease can be so severe in babies and sometimes even fatal."

Sounds of Pertussis is a joint initiative with the March of Dimes. The singer-actress helped kick off the 2009 March of Dimes March for Babies this past weekend in Florida with a crowd of more than 5,000 in attendance for the annual event, the Miami newspaper reports.

Health experts say infants are at risk for whooping cough until they receive their second or third vaccine dose (depending on your schedule) during their first year. Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease marked by a "whoop" sound in children who try to breathe in after a severe coughing spell. In adults, pertussis can appear as a cold, cough or the flu.

If you're expecting and are not sure about which vaccines you should get (and avoid), check out our chart to see what you might need and what's safe when. Also, read about baby's first vaccines so you can prepare yourself for the day. Steel yourself: The first shots are never a baby's favorite, so tears will be shed—most likely by both of you!

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.