What is Whooping Cough?

Pertussis is an illness also called whooping cough because people who have it make whooping sounds as they gasp for air after a coughing fit. Whooping cough is very contagious and in many cases can be prevented. The best way to avoid it is by getting vaccinated. Most people get this whooping cough vaccine as children, although older kids between 10-18 years old and adults can also be given a booster shot to continue their protection. 

Babies are more commonly infected because the vaccines they are given for this may leave the baby immunized or partially immunized. Everyone who spends time around infants and children should make sure they are immunized, especially pregnant women during each pregnancy, so the mom can pass the immunity to the baby.

Whooping cough symptoms begin with a bad cold, progress into a bad cough without the cold symptoms and can get so bad that in some cases the baby might throw up after coughing so hard. The cough usually improves in the next 2-6 weeks but can take up to 6-10 weeks to get better. Whooping cough can be treated because it is a bacteria. Dr. Parikh goes through the most common whooping cough symptoms and signs and encourages everyone to make sure they are vaccinated.


Dr. Preeti Parikh

This video features Dr. Preeti Parikh. Dr. Preeti Parikh is a Board-Certified Pediatrician with special interests in preventive medicine, advocacy and patient education.

Duration: 02:26. Last Updated On: 2015-07-15
Reviewed by: Dr. Preeti Parikh, Dr. Mera Goodman . Review date: August 31, 2015
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