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Whooping cough (pertussis)
Whooping cough (pertussis) is caused by a bacteria. The germs get into your child's nose, throat and lungs.
It starts with cold-like symptoms. The cough becomes worse in about 10 days. The severe cough may be followed by a "whooping" sound. Your child's face may even turn a bluish or reddish color. It is common to vomit after a coughing spell.
Symptoms of whooping cough are:
- runny nose
- severe coughing that often leads to vomiting
- a "whooping" sound when taking a breath after coughing.
Your child can spread whooping cough if she coughs or sneezes. The germ travels through the air and is inhaled by a healthy child.
How to make your child feel more comfortable
- Give your child extra liquids. This will help clear her congestion.
- Try to have your child rest as much as possible.
- Use a humidifier with a cool mist. Use distilled water, if possible. Be sure to empty and clean the humidifier each day.
- Keep your child away from secondhand smoke.
Antibiotics will keep your child from being able to spread whooping cough. Make sure your child finishes the prescription, even if she feels better. Family members will also need to take antibiotics.
When to call your health care provider
Call your health care provider for an appointment if your child:
- is coughing in spells of persistent cough
- turns blue
- is dehydrated (losing fluids and minerals).
The DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine should be given to your child at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 15 months. A booster should be given between the ages of 4 and 6.