Whooping Cough (Pertussis) for patients

Whooping Cough (Pertussis)
Information Leaflet for Patients
What is whooping Cough?
Whooping cough (sometimes called Pertussis) is s severe
respiratory infection caused by bacteria. It is most common
in children under the age of 1 year but can occur at any age.
What are the symptoms of Whooping
Whooping cough starts like cold with blocked nose,
sneezing, mild fever and occasional cough that later
develops into repeated severe coughing attacks.
Cough can be followed by vomiting, incontinence and/or “whooping” sound at the end of each attack.
The cough can be worse at night and can last for many weeks to months. Some newborns don’t cough
at all but may stop breathing and turn blue, have feeding difficulties or they can choke and gag.
Early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment of infection is important. Antibiotic treatment is necessary to
prevent spread to others. Antibiotic treatment early during this infection may prevent severe illness.
Whooping Cough is most contagious 2 to 4 days before the cough starts so the most effective
prevention is through immunization. Vaccine is given to babies at 2, 4, 6 months of age and later at 45 year preschool children. A booster dose is recommended at 11-14 years. Doctor may prescribe
antibiotics and/or vaccine to those who are in close contact with an infectious person. Whooping
Cough is spread by direct close contact with an infected person therefore people diagnosed with
whooping cough should stay at home until no longer infectious (3 weeks after symptoms develop or
when antibiotic course completed).
If you are concerned about your health or your babies health please contact your GP or hospital
infection control team.
Infection Control, Sep. 2012