Jeff Gordon Takes on Whooping Cough

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and son Leo watch the start of the Pocono INDYCAR 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 7, 2013 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Credit: Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images

Whooping cough is on the rise in the United States with reported cases the highest they've been in a decade. To add to that, studies have found the infection has grown more dangerous over the years. There are numerous reasons for the changes in whooping cough, but the most preventable is this: The vaccine that adults took as children has worn off. That's why Jeff Gordon is making the rounds with Sounds of Pertussis (pertussis is the scientific name for whooping cough), tring to raise awareness for an adult booster shot that everyone who is around infants should take.

Gordon has two children, a 6-year-old daughter, Ella, and 3-year-old son, Leo, who have inspired him to join this campaign. When his daughter was born, "we found out about whooping cough and pertussis being on the rise and outbreaks and that it's coming from within the family," Gordon told us in a recent meeting in New York. "Adult immunization wears off and they don't realize they have it and can give it to the infant," he says. "It can even be fatal – I think that most of us just aren't aware that we're putting them at risk."

Gordon likens raising a family to his career as one of the winningest NASCAR drivers of all time. "In racing we do the research, build great teams, build great racecars, and win races," he says. "It's the same when it comes to protecting children – to make the most informed decisions for them." Sounds of Pertussis suggest that all adults get a single Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) vaccine, especially those who are around or in contact with infants. Ask your doctor to get this common booster and administer it.