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Keep Your Kids Safe from Pertussis

Keep Your Kids Safe from Pertussis

Your first priority as a parent is to keep your child safe. Protecting him/her from pertussis (or whooping cough, as it used to be called) is one way you can do this. How?

  • If you're pregnant, ask your doctor if you need a pertussis vaccination.
  • If you are a parent, get your child immunized on schedule. The AAP recommends the DTaP, which includes pertussis, at two months, four months and six months; between 15-18 months and again, between ages 4-6 and 11-12.
  • If your baby is young, make sure that everyone in regular contact (babysitters, grandparents, etc.) has a current TDaP, which means they have gotten a booster within 10 years.

Pertussis immunization wears off in about 10 years, so it is important to get regular boosters. It's highly contagious and, in its early stages, pertussis resembles a cold but can quickly become very serious, even life-threatening (especially for infants and toddlers). Kids with pertussis cough so violently they empty out their lungs and end up gasping for air (literally "whooping"). They may vomit or turn blue. They find it difficult to eat, drink or breathe, and this can go on for weeks.

Most kids who get pertussis are infected by a family member whose immunization has worn off. Little babies are vulnerable because it takes a while for their immunity to develop; that's why they must have three shots in their first six months.

Talk to your child's pediatrician and find out how you can keep your child safe from pertussis.

Need a Pediatrician?

Torrance Memorial Physician Network offers personalized, high-quality medical care for children from birth to 18 years of age. We have board-certified pediatricians who are experienced in providing very comprehensive general pediatric care, as well as providing care for chronic illnesses in children.

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