Protecting Your Baby From Whooping Cough

Pertussis, otherwise known as Whopping Cough is a serious illness that may result in hospitalization and death for infants. Pertussis can be easily spread by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others. Adults should also get vaccinated because many infants’ contract pertussis from a relative or caregiver. The vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective so if you experience a cold that includes a severe cough visit your doctor.

In the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of cases of pertussis, especially in Williamson County. According to The Center for Disease Control, there is typically an increase of the disease every three to five years. We encourage you to have your infant or child’s vaccinations completely up-to-date at all times to provide the best protection against illnesses such as Pertussis. Please call us at (512) 733-5437 to schedule an appointment.

Whooping Cough Symptoms

The disease can be easily mistaken for a common cold. Unlike a cold, severe coughing begins one to two weeks after cold-like symptoms begin. Infected persons experience persistent coughing but the cough can be minimal or non-existent for infants. The disease may also cause apnea, a pause between breaths.

Effects of Whooping Cough

The effects of pertussis are most severe and dangerous for babies. About half of infected babies must be hospitalized due to complications. It is estimated that one in five infants will develop pneumonia. In every one of 100 cases, the disease is deadly.

Pertussis Vaccines for Children

Children should receive five DTaP shots. DTaP protects against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. The shots are given at 2, 4, 6 months of age, 15 through 18 months of age, school and finally at 4 through 6 years. Because of the increased number of cases of pertussis, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving a booster of the vaccine between 10 and 12 years of age.

Pertussis Vaccines for Adults

Adults should substitute their regular tetanus shot with a dose of DTaP. Adults who have never received a DTaP shot should visit their doctor at least two weeks before coming into close contact with an infant. It is important to make sure all caregivers for a new infant have been vaccinated. Pregnant women who have never been given a shot of DTaP should do so during the late second trimester, third trimester or immediately after the baby is born.

For the full article and more information, click here to visit the CDC web site.

Free Prenatal Classes: When preparing for your first baby or even your last, it is important to have all your questions answered. We cover topics such as antibiotics, vaccinations, breastfeeding and more. Classes are held on the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m.

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About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.