Whooping Cough on the Rise

Doctor vaccinating girl Vaccine Key to Control Whooping Cough

Providers go to: www.smchealth.org/whoopingcough

Health experts are urging people to take the simple step of getting vaccinated to prevent whooping cough.

Young infants who have not been vaccinated are most at risk. In addition to the typical series of childhood pertussis vaccines, the California Department of Public Health recommends a pertussis booster vaccine (Tdap) for:

  • anyone 7 years and older who has not received all recommended vaccines, including those who are more than 64 years old
  • women of childbearing age, before, during, or immediately after pregnancy
  • other people who have contact with pregnant women or infants

The pertussis vaccine series can begin when an infant is 6 weeks old. Infants, however, are not completely protected by vaccination until the initial series of three shots is complete. The series of shots that most children receive wears off by the time they finish middle school. A typical case of pertussis in children and adults starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes ends with a whooping sound. Fever is rare.

For more information about the Tdap booster shot, and to learn where you or your child can get vaccinated, visit www.shotsforschool.org.

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