- Pertussis (whooping cough), a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough, is a very contagious disease only found in humans. It is spread from person to person. People with pertussis usually spread the disease to another person by coughing or sneezing or when spending a lot of time near one another where you share breathing space. Many babies who get pertussis are infected by older siblings, parents, or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease.
- Pertussis is a serious disease that can cause babies to stop breathing.
The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) among babies, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated. Also, keep babies and other people at high risk for pertussis complications away from infected people. Like many respiratory illnesses, pertussis is spread by coughing and sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria. Practicing good hygiene is always recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. To practice good hygiene you should:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
- Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands, if you don't have a tissue.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
If you are pregnant, talk with your doctor or midwife about getting the whooping cough shot called Tdap, to help protect yourself and your baby. CDC recommends you get your Tdap vaccine between the 27th and 36th week of each pregnancy
. After you get the shot, your body will create protective antibodies and pass some of them to your baby before birth. These antibodies provide your baby some short-term protection against whooping cough in early life when your baby is too young to get vaccinated.
Tdap vaccine can protect adolescents and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Everyone should receive one dose of Tdap. Tdap is especially important for healthcare professionals and anyone having close contact with a baby younger than 12 months.&
Everyone should check with their healthcare provider. The Cayuga County Health Department does offer the Tdap vaccine. If you are interested or want more information please call 315-253-1560.