Whooping Cough / Pertussis
Vaccinations at Washington Township Medical Foundation
Pertussis is a condition commonly referred to as “whooping cough”
due to a distinguishing symptom: A strange, extended cough that often
makes a distinctive “whooping” sound—though this is
not always the case. This is a dry cough that does not produce mucus,
which is why the cough produces a strange sound. Infants with whooping
cough may not make this sound when coughing, and others may not cough.
They may gasp for air and struggle to catch their breath or vomit. Whooping
cough is a very contagious infection that affects the respiratory tract.
In addition to the cough, other early symptoms of this condition include:
- A runny nose
- A low fever
Typically, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat a case of pertussis
/ whooping cough. However, there is a vaccine available that is highly
safe and effective in preventing whooping cough from occurring. Pertussis
/ whooping cough is especially dangerous for infants. The DTaP and Tdap
vaccines are examples of immunizations that can help prevent this condition.
Do I Need to Seek Medical Care for My Child?
While an adult with pertussis may simply experience a persistent cough,
a child or infant with the condition could be in serious danger. If you
believe your child may have whooping cough, seek medical attention immediately.
This condition is especially dangerous for infants under the age of 18
months and they may need emergency care. It is important to watch a child
who may have pertussis or who has been diagnosed with pertussis at all
times, as the cough can cause them to stop breathing. Protect your child
by ensuring that he / she is immunized properly and is not exposed to
unvaccinated adults. Ask your doctor if you have questions about your
child’s immunization schedule.