More than 3,000 cases of whooping-cough have been reported in Washington State alone, where health officials have declared a whooping-cough epidemic. Whooping cough is heading toward a 50-year high in the United States.
Nationwide, nearly 18,000 cases of whooping-cough, or pertussis, and nine deaths have been reported in 2012, Anne Schuchat, MD, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters.
Even if vaccinated in the past, pregnant women and anyone else who are more likely to come into contact with young babies are being urged to get booster shots to prevent whooping-cough. For children, the whooping-cough vaccine DTaP is given in five doses, with the starting dose recommended at 2 months of age and the last dose recommended between the ages of 4 and 6 years.
Unvaccinated children have eight times the risk for getting whooping-cough compared to those who are vaccinated, Schuchat said.
According to May Clinic, once you’re infected with whooping-cough it can take one to three weeks for signs and symptoms to appear and they’re mild at first. Most symptoms resemble a common cold and include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Red, watery eyes
- A mild fever
- Dry cough
Symptoms may worsen after a week or two, thick mucus accumulates inside your airways, causing uncontrollable coughing. Severe and prolonged coughing attacks may:
- Provoke vomiting
- Result in a red or blue face
- Cause extreme fatigue
- End with a high-pitched “whoop” sound during the next breath of air