Pertussis (also known as “whopping cough”) is a highly contagious respiratory disease cause by the bacteria Bordetella Pertussis. It is transmitted through the air by coughing or sneezing. The early symptoms of pertussis are similar to the common cold, but the coughs become more severe as time passes. If you experience uncontrollable, violent coughing that makes it harder to breathe, please see a doctor for a physical exam and diagnostic testing Treatments such as antibiotics, steroids, and prescription cough medicines may be needed.
This disease is common in young children due to the school settings and from a lack of immunizations. Vaccination is the key to prevention for children due to the severity of the disease. To protect babies, it is recommended that pregnant women receive a Tdap (tetanus and pertussis combination) shot to prevent whopping cough. Babies will need additional doses of the pertussis vaccine at the following pages:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 15 – 18 months
- 4 – 6 years
It is important that people who interact with your child also be immunized to decrease the chance of your child contracting pertussis.
For more information, talk with your doctor today.
Prepared by Allen Ho in Houston, Texas
reviewed by Dr. Muhammad Emran