How Can I Prevent The Spread Of Whooping Cough
You should keep an infected child away from school, kindergarten and other children until they are no longer infectious your doctor can tell you when this will be. Try to teach your child to cover their nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing since this will help prevent the spread of infection. Ensure your family observes good hygiene practices, including washing hands often and thoroughly. It is especially important to keep an infected child away from a baby under 6 months because they are particularly vulnerable to the infection.
Close contacts of children with whooping cough are sometimes prescribed antibiotics, particularly if they are vulnerable examples include young babies and pregnant women. If your child has whooping cough, ask your doctor whether you or other family members need antibiotics or vaccination.
Warning Signs Of Whooping Cough
Pertussis starts with cold-like symptoms a runny nose, mild cough and perhaps a low fever. After one or two weeks, however, the disease can cause so much inflammation in the airways that a child has violent and rapid coughing fits, called paroxysms. Children struggle to breath in air, causing the whooping sound that gives the disease its common name. Many children also vomit during coughing fits. Rarely, a child can even pass out, fracture a rib or stop breathing during severe coughing. This violent cough can last two weeks or longer.
If your child is coughing in spasms, or breathing fast, or you can see your childs ribs outlined when they breathe, your child definitely needs to be seen by a doctor.
Infants with pertussis dont always have the classic whooping cough. Instead they may have apnea, a pause in breathing. If a baby has cold symptoms and any difficulty breathing, get to the doctor.
We’re very tuned into the problem of pertussis and we have a low threshold for testing, Dr. Weiss says. If its pertussis, well likely find it. Pertussis can be diagnosed with a simple test in your doctors office.
Can I Spread Whooping Cough Even If I Don’t Have A Bad Cough
Yes. You can have whooping cough without realizing it and infect others. This is especially important to know for people who are going to be around babies or pregnant women. Any time you have a runny nose or cough, you should stay away from high-risk people, and make sure you are vaccinated before seeing them.
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Can You Catch Whooping Cough If You’ve Already Gotten The Vaccine
Unlike some vaccines, the whooping cough vaccine may not protect you against the disease for life. You may become less immune 5 to10 years after your last childhood vaccine.
CDC: “Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis Vaccines: What You Need to Know.”
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
CDC: “Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis Vaccines: What You Need to Know.”
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
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Who Should Get Immunised Against Whooping Cough
Anyone who wants to protect themselves against whooping cough can talk to their doctor about getting immunised.
Whooping cough immunisation is recommended for:
- children aged 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 18 months, four years, and between 10 and 15 years , at no cost under the National Immunisation Program .
- pregnant women in the third trimester, ideally between weeks 20 and 32 of every pregnancy, at no cost through the NIP
- healthcare workers, if they have not had a whooping cough vaccine in the past 10 years
- people working in early childhood education and care, if they havent had a whooping cough vaccine in the past 10 years
- adult household contacts and carers of babies under 6 months old
- people who are travelling overseas, if they havent had a whooping cough vaccine in the past 10 years
- adults of any age who need a tetanus, diphtheria or polio dose
- people aged 50 years, at the same time as they get their recommended tetanus and diphtheria vaccine
- people aged 65 or over, if they have not had a whooping cough vaccine in the past 10 years.
People under 20 years old, refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age, can get whooping cough vaccines at no cost through the NIP. This is if they did not receive the vaccines in childhood. This is called catch-up vaccination.
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There Is A Low Risk Of Severe Side Effects From Multiple Tdap Doses
The Tdap vaccine combines protection against tetanus and diphtheria, in addition to whooping cough. Researchers have done studies on tetanus vaccines that do not contain protection against pertussis. These studies found that adults who receive 2 tetanus shots in a short time period were no more likely than adults getting their first Tdap vaccine to have severe side effects. CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologistsexternal icon consider the benefits of Tdap vaccination in multiple pregnancies to outweigh theoretical risks.
Studies looked at the safety of giving multiple Tdap doses because there is a theoretical risk for severe local reactions if the tetanus component of the vaccine is given too often. An example of severe hypersensitivity would be the arm swelling from the shoulder to the elbow within 4 to 12 hours of getting the shot . Manufacturers now make these vaccines with lower doses of the tetanus component than tetanus vaccines in the past. Experts believe this change likely reduced the risk of severe local reactions.
How Can I Protect My Child From Whooping Cough
The best way to protect your child from whooping cough is through on-time vaccination. Ensure your whole family has up-to-date whooping cough vaccinations too. The more people who are vaccinated in a community, the harder it is for the infection to spread. This is especially important if you or your partner are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant.
Babies need to be vaccinated at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and again at 4 months and 6 months before they are sufficiently protected against the disease. This is why they are particularly vulnerable before they reach the age of 6 months. Boosters should be given at ages 4 and 15 for the best protection during childhood.
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Whooping Cough Immunisation Service
Whooping cough vaccines are given as a needle and are only available as a combination vaccine. They can be provided by a variety of recognised immunisation providers. If you’re eligible, you can get the whooping cough vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program .
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Vaccine Refusal Raises Disease Risk
The study looked at records of children 2 months to 18 years old enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente Colorado health plan from 1996 to 2007. During the study, 156 lab-confirmed cases of whooping cough were reported. They compared these children to 595 children who didn’t get whooping cough.
Researchers found that children of parents who refused vaccines were 23 times more likely than vaccinated children to get the infection.
In addition, another analysis among 27,748 young children from 2 to 20 months old with 31 lab-confirmed cases of pertussis, there was a similar increase in disease risk among children of parents who refused the whooping cough vaccine.
Overall, 11% of whooping cough cases in the total population were attributable to parentsâ refusal of vaccines.
âThese findings stress the need to further understand why parents refuse immunizations and to develop strategies for conveying the risks and benefits of immunizations to parents more effectively,â the researchers write.
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Your Baby Needs Whooping Cough Vaccines On Time
Once your baby is old enough , he needs to get his whooping cough vaccines. That will be the best way to protect him from whooping cough as he gets older. DTaP is the name of the whooping cough vaccine for children . DTaP vaccine combines protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis .
Blood Tests Cannot Tell If You Need A Tdap Vaccine
Experts do not know what level of whooping cough antibodies is needed to protect anyone, including babies, from getting sick. That is why CDC recommends all women get a Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy even women with some antibodies due to a previous infection or vaccine. The goal is to give each baby the greatest number of protective antibodies possible.
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Breastfeeding May Pass Some Protective Antibodies Onto Your Baby
You can pass some whooping cough antibodies to your baby by breastfeeding. By getting a Tdap vaccine during your pregnancy, you will have these antibodies in your breast milk as soon as your milk comes in. However, your baby will not get protective antibodies immediately if you wait until your baby is born to get the vaccine. This is because it takes about 2 weeks for your body to create antibodies. Learn more about the health benefits of breastfeeding.
How Many People Need To Be Immunized To Reach Community Immunity
Typically, more than 90 percent of a population must be vaccinated against a disease to produce general protection for the population. Since whooping cough vaccines don’t last a lifetime, and because it spreads so easily, we can’t rely on community immunity to protect us from this disease. Making sure you and those around you are up to date on whooping cough vaccine is your best chance to protect yourself and your family from this serious disease.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Pertussis
- Pertussis is also known as whooping cough because the main symptom is severe coughing. Coughing may be followed by a whoop sound before the next breath.
- It usually starts like a cold, with a very runny nose. After a few days, the typical coughing begins. Your child is already contagious when the cold-like symptoms start.
- The coughing can be so aggressive that children vomit or have trouble breathing. Many children keep themselves and their families awake because they cough so much in the night.
- The cough is usually severe for 2 to 3 weeks and then starts to get better.
- Some children will continue to have some coughing for several months after having pertussis, especially if they get a cold before they fully recover.
Whooping cough is becoming more common among teens because the protection from their vaccines has worn off. Older children and teens usually only have a prolonged cough without the whoop sound. They can also have trouble breathing, vomit, or experience weight loss.
When Should I Have The Whooping Cough Vaccine
The best time to get vaccinated to protect your baby is from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks of pregnancy. This maximises the chance that your baby will be protected from birth, through the transfer of your antibodies before he or she is born.
If for any reason you miss having the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour. However, this is not ideal, as your baby is less likely to get protection from you. At this stage of pregnancy, having the vaccination may not directly protect your baby, but would help protect you from whooping cough and from passing it on to your baby.
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How Effective Is The Whooping Cough Vaccine
The whooping cough vaccine is highly effective when people get all the recommended doses. In children, DTaP protects:
- About 98 out of 100 children for at least a year after the fifth shot.
- About 7 out of 10 children for five years after the fifth shot.
In adults, Tdap protects:
- About 7 in 10 people for the first year after the shot.
- About 4 in 10 people for four years after the shot.
When pregnant women get Tdap, the vaccine protects:
- More than 3 out of 4 babies from getting whooping cough in the first 2 months of life.
- About 9 out of 10 babies from getting severe whooping cough infections that require hospitalization.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Pertussis vaccines protect children, teens and adults from whooping cough. Whooping cough is a respiratory disease that causes uncontrollable coughing fits followed by a whoop sound. In babies, whooping cough can lead to severe complications. All children, adults and pregnant women should get the whooping cough vaccine. Young children receive the vaccine as a series of five shots before age 7. Starting around age 11 to 12, teens and adults receive a booster pertussis vaccine every 10 years.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/25/2021.
Complications Of Whooping Cough
Whooping cough is most serious in babies under 12 months of age. In young babies less than six months of age, the symptoms can be severe or life threatening. Seek urgent medical attention if your child’s lips or skin go blue or if they are having breathing difficulties associated with the coughing. Some of the complications of whooping cough in young babies include:
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Know When To Call The Doctor If You Suspect Whooping Cough
- Fever if your baby is younger than 3 months of age
- Fever that rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit repeatedly for a child of any age
- Symptoms of dehydration
- Gray- or blue-tinged tongue, lips or skin
- Pauses in breathing or difficulty breathing
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
Who Shouldnt Get The Whooping Cough Vaccine
You should not receive a pertussis vaccine if youre allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine or have had a serious reaction to diphtheria, tetanus, or whooping cough vaccines in the past.
Before you receive your whooping cough vaccine, let your healthcare provider know if you:
- Have had a previous reaction to vaccines
- Have seizures or other nervous system problems
- Have had Guillain-Barre syndrome
If youre not feeling well, it might be a good idea to wait until you’re better to get your vaccine.
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Symptoms Of Whooping Cough
Whooping cough begins with symptoms similar to those of a cold. These can rapidly progress to include:
- severe cough occurs in bouts
- characteristic ‘whooping’ sound on inhalation
- vomiting at the end of a bout of coughing
- apnoea the child stops breathing for periods of time and may go blue.
A person with these symptoms may also have poor appetite, fatigue and dehydration. The person may appear normal between bouts of coughing. During the recovery, the cough gradually decreases, but can last up to three months.
Does Medicare Cover The Vaccine
Medicare Part D covers the cost of the adult vaccine for adults aged 65 and older. Since it’s a prescription drug benefit, coverage depends on the use of that benefit so far during the year. Call 1-800-633-4227 with questions about Medicare. Health care workers with questions should contact their patients’ Part D plan for Part D vaccine information.
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How Does Pertussis Spread
Pertussis is a very contagious disease.
- It spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and the germs land in the nose or mouth of someone who is close by.
- It usually spreads among family members and in other situations where there is close contact between people.
Pertussis is most contagious during the first 2 weeks, when symptoms are similar to a common cold.
Anyone who has not been vaccinated against pertussis can become ill with whooping cough. The pertussis vaccine does not work as well as other vaccines, and protection wears off after a few years, so even people who have had the vaccine can sometimes get pertussis. However, it is still important to get the vaccine because those who have been vaccinated and still get pertussis will have a much milder disease than those who have not been vaccinated.
Get The Whooping Cough Vaccine During Each Pregnancy
Only you can give your baby protection against whooping cough before your little one is even born. Talk to your doctor or midwife about getting the whooping cough vaccine during your third trimester.
Whooping cough is a serious disease that can be deadly for babies. Unfortunately, babies do not start building their own protection against whooping cough until they get vaccinated at two months old. This leaves babies unprotected in the first months of life when they are at highest risk of getting very sick if they get whooping cough.
Protect your baby before she is able to get vaccinated by getting a Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of your pregnancy. By doing so, you pass high levels of antibodies to your baby before birth. These antibodies help protect your baby against whooping cough in those first months of life.
CDC recommends all women receive a Tdap vaccine during the 27th through 36th week of each pregnancy, preferably during the earlier part of this time period. The following medical associations dedicated to the health of pregnant women or children support this recommendation:
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