Whooping Cough (Pertussis) (cont.)
Whooping Cough Treatment
Antibiotics are used to lessen the severity of whooping cough and make the person taking them noncontagious. Antibiotics are most effective if given early in the first phase of the illness.
The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy recommends the following antibiotic treatments: a
five-day course of azithromycin, a seven-day course of clarithromycin, or a 14-day course of either erythromycin or
- Some strains of whooping cough are resistant to certain antibiotics. Symptoms
may worsen if this is the case.
- In addition to treating the adult or child who has whooping cough, everyone in the household should be treated prophylactically with antibiotics.
- All close contacts younger than 7 years of age who have not completed their primary vaccinations (including the DTaP to prevent pertussis) should complete this series with the minimum time between shots.
- Close contacts younger than 7 years of age who have completed their primary series but have not received a booster of DTaP within
three years of exposure should be given the booster dose.
- Exposed adults should be vaccinated with Tdap (see the "Prevention" section below).
- Anyone with whooping cough should be isolated for five days after starting antibiotics or until
three weeks after the onset of the coughing spasms if the person has not received antibiotic treatment.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/18/2014
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