You may have recently heard in the news about cases of whooping cough or pertussis being identified in areas throughout the United States. Whooping cough is a disease spread by droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It affects the respiratory system causing a harsh, uncontrollable cough which is characterized by a “whooping” sound between coughs. Whooping cough is treatable with antibiotics but if it is not diagnosed quickly it can be fatal for children, especially infants. This disease can be transmitted from adults to children even if the adult is showing no symptoms.
Because this disease is so dangerous for infants, it is important to keep up with the prescribed immunization schedule for infants. Adults also may require a booster immunization because the childhood vaccination wears off after 5-10 years. Adolescents and adults who care for children or infants (medical workers, babysitters, day care workers) should receive a single dose of the vaccine. The whooping cough vaccine is combined with the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine and is commonly called “DTaP.” This vaccine is given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years of age. It is recommended pre-teens have a booster at 11-12 years. Adults should get a DTaP vaccine once and then a Td (tetanus diphtheria) booster every 10 years.
Common cold type symptoms such as mild cough, fever, nasal congestion and drainage. The cough remains for 1-2 weeks and becomes more severe and can continue for weeks. The classic “whooping” sound in between coughs may be seen and should be reported immediately to a child’s Pediatrician. Infants may not have the “whoop” sound to their cough but may show signs of apnea which means they will have a pause in their breathing. Apnea is very serious and should be reported immediately to a child’s Pediatrician. Any cold symptoms lasting longer than a week should be reported to a child’s Pediatrician immediately. It is also important for adolescents and adults to stay away from infants and small children when ill and get the recommended booster vaccinations to prevent the spread of whooping cough.
Since many people aren't sure what whooping cough sounds like, the following links will provide you with sound clips and valuable information about the signs/symptoms related to that particular cough:
Child with whooping cough with very little whooping:
Child with whooping cough with NO whooping:
Child with whooping cough with significant whooping:
Adult Male with whooping cough:
For further information about whooping cough, talk to your Physician or look through the following websites: