Pertussis, better known as whooping cough, is a serious respiratory infection that affects people of any age. It is especially dangerous for infants, who may suffer permanent disability or even death.
“Whooping cough is easily spread through tiny droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs,” said Lisa Glosson, a family practitioner with Centegra Physician Care-Woodstock. “It can cause severe coughing that can often result in a whooping sound when a person gasps for air.”
In 2012, Illinois had the highest number of whooping cough cases since 1950, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study indicates that fewer Americans may be immune to the disease and the best way to ensure protection is to receive a booster shot.
The pertussis vaccination is a recommended immunization for children and adults, including pregnant women. Many cases of whooping cough are seen among teens and adults who have waning immunity if they have not received a booster since childhood. These individuals may then infect children with whom they are in contact.
The CDC recommends the pertussis vaccination known as Tdap for teens and adults be given around age 11 or 12 and a booster every 10 years thereafter.
Talk to your doctor about the pertussis vaccine. To find a Centegra physician near you, call (815) 338-6600.