When your baby is having a coughing fit, gasping for breath with eyes red and watery, you very likely don't pull out your cell phone to film a video to post on Facebook. But that's what Rebecca Harreman did when her infant son was struggling to breathe while suffering from whooping cough.
The Australian mom used the opportunity to send a desperate message to parents who haven't vaccinated their kids against the highly contagious illness.
"I'm tired. Damn tired. I've been on duty for over 3 weeks having to wake every single time my baby boy coughs for fear he will stop breathing. Every. Single. Time. I cannot and will not pass that duty to anyone else, because I just can't sleep.
So for those of you sitting on the fence on whether to vaccinate yourself and your kids or not... maybe this video will convince you . . .
I don't care whether you want to try and prove to me that vaccinations and herd immunities don't work. I don't care that vaccinations have side effects, because every person in this world reacts differently to all types of food, products and medicines. I could not care less, even if it is ever proven one day that they don't work.
You know why? Because at least at the end of the day I tried to do something to prevent this and not sit there and say 'oh well, vaccinations don't work so I'll just sit here and do nothing'... because doing nothing goes against every cell in my body as a mother. Doing nothing is just wrong."
Because whooping cough — otherwise known as pertussis — can cause babies to stop breathing and can last up to 100 days, Harreman made a point to note that her video showcased a "good" coughing fit for her 4-month-old boy. The 30-second clip is nothing, she wrote, "compared to watching him turn blue from coughing for so long and so much that he can't take a single breath."
Her self-proclaimed rant, which has been shared 14,000 times, comes on the heels of a public health warning issued by Brisbane, Australia, where Harreman lives and where 10 children have contracted the infection in the past six weeks — double the amount of the past year.
Whether parents vaccinate their kids or not, Harreman made one more, far simpler request: "If you have a cough while out in public, cover your damn effing mouth!"