A Cough You Can Die From


Whooping cough is an extremely contagious and serious illness. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that several states are reporting an increase in the number of cases, including a state wide epidemic in California. Whooping cough also known as “pertussis”, can easily spread when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. The pertussis bacterium is released into the air and can be breathed in by the non-infected person.

Whooping cough is not just a disease for the young. In California there has been a recent surge in teen and adult cases of pertussis. The vaccination series of shots most of us received in our childhood has now long expired. For teens and adults with new infants, it is suggested that they receive the Tdap booster. One person’s infection can easily spread through the rest of the family. In many cases it may take up to six weeks to recover from this illness.

Pertussis is extremely serious for the young. Infant and children with the disease cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is exhausted from their lungs and they’re forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound. Pertussis is most severe for babies; more than half of infants less than 1 year of age who get the disease must be hospitalized. About 1 in 5 infants with pertussis get pneumonia (lung infection), and about 1 in 100 will have convulsions. In rare cases (1 in 100), pertussis can be deadly, especially in infants.

Your best protection against whooping cough it to get vaccinated or receive the booster. If you or your child begins to show the signs of the disease, such as a runny nose, congestion, fever or a mild cough which continues to become more severe; stay home, drink plenty of fluids and see your physician.

For more information on pertussis visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/features/pertussis/

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