Whooping Cough



Update on:

Whooping Cough

Vaccinations  of children are decreasing for various reasons ….according to recent reports 11 children have  died in California from pertussis or “whooping cough”.

Vaccinations of children begin at about 2 months of age and continue on specific regular intervals agreed upon between the parents and their pediatrician. Booster shots are recommended throughout life…booster shots begin at around 11 years old and then should be given every 10 years as adults.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing. The coughing can make it hard to breathe.  A deep “whooping” sound is often heard when the patient tries to take a breath.

“Whooping cough” is a bacterial infection which is very serious especially in infants. It can lead to death. However, it can be treated with antibiotics and often children especially infants will need to be hospitalized in order to receive oxygen and moist humid air along with intravenous fluids.

DTaP vaccination is one of the recommended childhood immunizations it protects children against pertussis infection.  Five DTaP vaccines are recommended. The suggested vaccination schedule is 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years.

The Tdap vaccine should be given around age 11 or 12, and every 10 years thereafter.

Some health care organizations strongly recommend that adults up to the age of 65 years receive the adult form of the vaccine against pertussis.

Complications of pertussis are serious, these are:

  • Pneumonia
  • Convulsions
  • Seizure disorder (permanent)
  • Nose bleeds
  • Ear infections
  • Brain damage from lack of oxygen
  • Bleeding in the brain (cerebral hemorrhage)
  • Mental retardation
  • Slowed or stopped breathing (apnea)
  • Death


  • Call 911 or get to an emergency room if the person has any of the following symptoms:
  • Bluish skin color, which indicates a lack of oxygen
  • Periods of stopped breathing (apnea)
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • High fever
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Dehydration


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