Welcome to Medical Insight, a weekly healthcare feature brought to you by the experts at Essentia Health. Today on Medical Insight, we talk with Pediatrician, Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, about pertussis – more commonly known as whooping cough. Pertussis is a bacteria infection and it causes a disease called whooping cough which usually leads to just a lingering, annoying cough in most people. However, babies if they get infected, unfortunately can have serious complications, including apnea, where they stop breathing, serious seizures or brain infections, pneumonia and sometimes, unfortunately, death.
Whooping cough is spread in respiratory secretions, so sneezing or coughing. If you’ve been exposed and you start coughing and you have a cold and the cough has been lasting about 3 days or so, it’s a good time to come in and get checked, especially if you are around infants. Otherwise, if you don’t know of any exposure, and you have sort of a cold that’s lingering and then you develop a cough, once you have a cough for about a week, most coughs should be starting to get better by then and if yours isn’t, you could have whooping cough so it’s a good idea to come in and get a test. Dr. KenKnight explains a series of vaccinations is the best thing to protect yourself and loved ones.
Vaccination is the number one thing you can do to prevent yourself from getting whopping cough. There are more incidents of whooping cough and outbreaks that have happened over the last years. It’s not a disease that is eliminated by vaccinations so you are still at risk for getting it so the boosters are important. The booster vaccine confirms immunity for about 5 years. If you have a close family member who is having a baby or expecting, please talk with your doctor. For Medical Insight, I’m Maureen Talarico..
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