Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a very contagious bacterial infection that inflames the lungs and airways causing an unrelenting, violent cough.
Most cases of whooping cough begin with cold or flu symptoms such as fever, runny nose, cough and sneezing. These symptoms can last for a couple of weeks before the cough gets bad.
A child with whooping cough will have lengthy coughing spells and trouble breathing afterwards. There may be mucus and the cough will worsen at night.
Whooping cough is spread the same way that a bacterial infection is spread; either through direct contact or breathing air that is infected. Fortunately, most children start receiving DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccines beginning at 2 months of age. There are five injections in the series and will be spread out from age 2 months to age 4 or 6 years. After each injection, the chances of contracting either of these diseases, is decreased.
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