Whooping cough can lead to serious complications that can be life-threatening. Learn how you as a parent can prevent you and your family from developing whooping cough with these 11 simple steps:
1.Know How to Spot the Symptoms: Whooping cough, also called pertussis, starts out like a cold and after 1 to 2 weeks those symptoms intensify into a severe cough. Whooping cough can make it difficult to breathe and may lead to vomiting.
2.Know When It's Contagious: The bacteria that causes whooping cough lodges itself into the airways. When this happens, you begin to spread the bacteria when you cough and sneeze. Whooping cough can be contagious from the time cold symptoms appear. It can be contagious for up to 3 weeks after coughing begins and will usually last 6 to 12 weeks.
3.Learn to Contain Coughs: Everyone in your household should learn how to contain a cough to stop the spread of germs. Teach your children how to cover their mouth with their sleeve/elbow when they cough or sneeze. Teach everyone in the home to wash their hands frequently.
4.Get Treated Early: See a doctor as soon as whooping cough is suspected in the home. Antibiotics are usually prescribed in these situations. Taking medication in the first 2 weeks can help prevent spreading of the germs.
5.Avoid Spreading Bacteria: If your child has whooping cough, you have been exposed to the bacteria as well. You're better off staying home from work and keeping your kids home from school. Keep babies away from those who are infected, as whooping cough can be fatal. Children under 3 are likely to have more serious complications.
6.Vaccinate Young Children: Vaccinations against whooping cough are essential to your child's well being. The DTaP vaccine protects infants against whooping cough. Keep a record of the shots, as you will likely need them for school in case your little one is ever exposed to the bacteria. Your child should be vaccinated at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years.
7.Protect Your Teens & Preteens: Immunity wears off over time and cases of whooping cough are on the rise between ages 11 and 18. A vaccine can help preteens and teens. The booster shot is approved for this age group.
8.Don't Forget About Yourself: Adults need booster shots, too. See your doctor about getting a T shot.
9.Get a Booster Shot If You're Pregnant: Get a T vaccine each time you get pregnant. Schedule the shot when you are between 27 and 36 weeks. It will not only keep you safe, but it will keep your baby safe from whooping cough until they need the shot at 2 months old.
10.Remind Caregivers To Stay Healthy: If you have a live-in nanny or a regular babysitter, remind them to get a booster shot as well and to make sure they are not coming into work if they feel ill.
11.Check With Your Doctor Before Skipping the Shot: If you have had a severe allergic reaction to the shot, talk to your doctor before making the decision to skip the vaccine all together. The doctor will help you decide whether or not it is OK for your child to get the shot.