Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing. It affects people of all ages — but is most serious in infants, especially those too young to get vaccinated or who aren’t fully protected. It causes cold-like symptoms followed by a long, severe cough that can last for weeks. Adolescents and adults often get a much milder case of whooping cough, but they can still spread it.
Whooping cough vaccines are recommended for all children and adults. In children, the protective effect of the vaccine wears off over time. Everyone age 11 and older should get a whooping cough booster, called Tdap. It’s especially important for anyone who has close contact with babies younger than 12 months to get a dose of Tdap to help protect the baby from whooping cough. This includes parents, siblings, grandparents, health care providers, and child care providers.
Many adults don’t realize they need to be vaccinated, or they assume they have been.
If you have only had a Td (Tetanus/Diphtheria) vaccine, then you need to know it does not contain the vaccination for pertussis. You would need to receive a Tdap in order to help protect you from acquiring Pertussis.
We’re encouraging everyone in the community to verify with your health care provider that you are up-to-date on vaccines. If you have not had a Tdap vaccine or booster, we highly encourage you to do so at your earliest convenience. The vaccine is available at all Franciscan Medical Group primary care clinics and Prompt Care locations. If you have any questions, please contact your primary care provider.
We’re also asking everyone to employ health-promoting behaviors — like covering your cough, washing hands frequently and staying home when you’re sick — all of which will also help prevent the spread of whooping cough.