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Pertussis/Whooping Cough Information

Pertussis/Whooping Cough Information

Pertussis is an infection that affects the airways. The bacteria that causes whooping cough can easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Pertussis can cause a severe cough that lasts for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits or vomiting. Anyone can get whooping cough, but it can be very dangerous for babies and people with certain health conditions. Family members with whooping cough, especially siblings and parents, can spread the illness to babies.

Per the CDC, in its early stages, whooping cough appears to be nothing more than the common cold. Therefore, doctors often do not suspect or diagnose it until the more severe symptoms appear.

See a doctor if you or your child are:

  • Experiencing coughing fits with a high-pitched “whoop” sound when inhaling at the end

  • Vomiting during or after coughing fits

  • Struggling to breathe

  • Turning blue or purple

  • Coughing violently

  • Coughing rapidly, over and over

  • Not drinking enough fluids

Any time someone is struggling to breathe, it is important to get them to a doctor right away.

If your child has been diagnosed with whooping cough/pertussis by their doctor:

  • Please inform your child’s school.

  • Keep your child home from school and activities, such as sports or play groups, until your child has been on appropriate antibiotics for at least five days.

If you, anyone in your household, or anyone you know has been exposed to a case of pertussis please seek an appointment with a licensed medical provider. Preventative medication can be prescribed after an exposure. High risk individuals include:

  • Infants

  • Women in their third trimester of pregnancy

  • Individuals who are immunocompromised or have moderate to severe asthma

For more information about pertussis and pertussis prevention, including vaccination, please visit  Pertussis (Whooping Cough) |CDC.