What is Pertussis?

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by bacterium Bordetella Pertussis.  It is also known as whooping cough.  This bacterial infection spreads very easily via your nose and throat.  Vaccines like DTaP and Tdap can help prevent it in children and adults.

 

Whooping cough is risky especially in infants younger than 6 months old.  The coughing spells lead to breathing issues.  That is why kids under the age of 18 months with whooping cough should be looked after all the time.  In some severe cases, it may even lead to hospitalization.

 

The only way to prevent and protect your child or any other adult from Pertussis is by getting Pertussis vaccination.

 

Causes of Pertussis:  When a person with whooping cough sneezes, laughs, or coughs, small droplets containing the bacteria, Bordetella Pertussis may fly through the air.  You might get sick when you breathe the droplets.

 

The Bordetella Pertussis bacteria enters the airways and attaches to the tiny hairs in the linings of the lungs.  The Bordetella Pertussis bacteria causes inflammation and swelling, which leads to a dry cough that is long-lasting and other cold-like symptoms.

 

Whooping cough can cause anyone at any age to get sick lasting 3 to 6 weeks.  There is a high chance of getting sick even after being administered the Pertussis vaccine.

 

Pertussis Symptoms:  In the beginning, whooping cough has similar symptoms as the average cold:

  • Mild coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Low fever (below 102 F)
  • You may also have diarrhea early on.

The cough turns into “coughing spells” after about 7-10 days.  These coughing spells last up to 1 minute as it is dry and does not produce mucus.  It can cause your face to briefly turn red or purple.

 

Pertussis Treatment:  If whooping cough is diagnosed early, antibiotics can help reduce coughing and other symptoms.  The infection can be prevented from spreading to others.  If diagnosed late, the antibiotics do not work well.

 

Over-the-counter cough suppressants, cough medicines, or expectorants don’t treat whooping cough.  If the coughing spells are keeping you from drinking enough fluids, consult your doctor immediately.

 

Pertussis vaccination:  The best way to prevent Pertussis (whooping cough) is to get the Pertussis vaccine.  There are vaccines for children, babies, teens, preteens, and adults.  DTaP (Diphtheria tetanus Pertussis) is the childhood vaccine, and Tdap is the pertussis booster vaccine for preteens, teens, and adults.  Consult with your doctor regarding the Pertussis vaccine.

 

Pertussis Vaccine Dose:  5 doses of DTaP vaccine should be administered to children, one dose at each of the following ages of 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years respectively.  DTaP can easily be administered along with other vaccines at the same time.

 

DTaP should not be given if the child is 7 years of age or older because Pertussis vaccine is only licensed for children under 7.

 

Adults also need protection.  A vaccine called Tdap is similar to DTaP.  A single dose of Tdap is recommended for the age group of 11 through 64 years of age.

 

Pertussis vaccine side effects:  Like any medicine, a vaccine is capable of causing serious problems like severe allergic reactions.  The risk of Pertussis vaccine, DTaP causing serious harm or death is extremely minimal.

 

Fever, redness, swelling, soreness, or tenderness where the shot was given.  These problems occur after the 4th and 5th doses of the DTaP series.  In few cases when the 4th or 5th dose of DTaP vaccine is administered, it could lead to swelling of the arm or leg in which the shot was given.

 

Other mild problems include:

-Fussiness, tiredness or poor appetite, vomiting.

-Seizure (jerking or staring).

-Non-stop crying for 3 hours or more.

-High fever, over 105°F

-Serious allergic reaction can also occur in rarest of the rare cases

 

Some more serious problems after a DTaP vaccine are coma, long-term seizures, or loss in consciousness; permanent brain damage.  These are quite rare and it is sometimes hard to tell if they are caused by the Pertussis vaccine.

 

Controlling fever is especially important for children and other adults.  After the shot is given treat the fever and pain with (acetaminophen) aspirin-free pain reliever.  For the next 24 hours follow the instructions on the package.

Pertussis vaccine schedule

Routine vaccination:

  • Adolescents:  1 dose at 11–12 years of age.
  • Pregnant adolescents:  1 dose during each pregnancy (if possible during the early gestational weeks 27–36).

Catch-up vaccination:

  • Adolescents 13–18 years who have not received the Tdap vaccine, 1 dose followed by a Td booster every 10 years.
  • Persons 7–18 years who are not fully immunized with DTaP need 1 dose of Tdap as part of the catch-up series (preferably the first dose).  If additional doses are needed, use Td.
  • Children 7–10 years who get Tdap as part of the catch-up series generally receive the routine Tdap dose at 11–12 years.
  • Adolescents 11–18 years:  they get dose of DTaP as the adolescent Tdap booster.

How can we help?

Pertussis is an extremely contagious disease.  The best way to prevent Pertussis (whooping cough) is to get vaccinated.  We offer the best Pertussis treatment right at your doorstep.  To help you get this important Pertussis vaccine at home, we offer vaccination service at home.  Our doctors will come to your doorstep to administer this Pertussis vaccine at home and its booster shot to you and/or your loved one within the comfort of your home.  Do you have an infant at home who needs to be administered the Pertussis vaccine at home?  Just give us a call and we will provide you with all the doses of the Pertussis vaccine at home and also educate you about it.

 

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References:

https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/vaccines.html

https://www.vaccines.gov/diseases/pertussis/index.html

http://www.adultvaccination.org/vpd/pertussis

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