Cold and flu are not the only illnesses that may be approaching this fall and winter. Outbreaks of Pertussis, better known as ‘whooping cough,’ also occur more often during cold and flu season. Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the spread of a bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis causes swelling of the airways, leading to a violent “whoop sounding” cough. This cough has been known to last up to 10 weeks or more. Although pertussis can affect people of all ages, it can be life-threatening for infants. According to the Centers for Disease Control, children are at a greater risk of getting pertussis. About 50% of children under the age of 1 infected with pertussis require hospitalization. The best way to prevent Pertussis is to get the DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) vaccine.
Signs and Symptoms
In the early stages, pertussis may appear to be a common cold. Symptoms may include:
- Runny nose
- Low-grade fever
- Occasional cough
- Pauses in breathing (in infants)
Symptoms after having Pertussis for 1-2 weeks may include:
- Multiple rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop” sound. This cough often occurs at night.
- Vomiting during or after coughing
- Exhaustion after coughing
- Use tissues to cover the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
- Throw away tissues after use.
- Cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve or bend of the elbow to help keep the hands clean.
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer throughout the day
- Vaccinate your child. 9 out of 10 children are fully protected from the virus after receiving the vaccine.
- DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) vaccine for babies and children
- TDaP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis) booster shot for preteens, teens, and adults
- Pregnant women may receive the TDaP vaccine between 27-36 weeks of pregnancy.
For more information about vaccinations regarding pertussis and other diseases, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/vaccines.html
To schedule your appointment for pertussis vaccination, please visit https://www.childrensal.org/HowtomakeAppointments