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Whooping Cough (Pertussis) (cont.)

Whooping Cough Prevention (Pertussis Vaccine)

  • Risk factors for getting whooping cough include exposure to an infected person's cough or sneeze or touching surfaces used by an infected person. Both frequent hand washing and the use of masks will help lessen the likelihood that the bacteria will spread to other members of a household where someone has whooping cough. Also avoid touching your nose or mouth and introducing the bacteria you may have picked up during outbreaks.
  • For children, follow the recommended vaccine schedule for the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) inoculations. Shots are given at the ages of 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years of age for full immunity, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics; however, vaccine immunity generally wanes after six to 10 years and does not result in permanent immunity, which is why a pertussis booster shot is needed.
  • In 2005, the U.S. government approved Tdap, the first pertussis booster shot for children 10-18 years of age. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control recommends one dose of Tdap in place of one Td booster.
  • For adults 19-64 years, the ACIP recommends a single dose of Tdap.
    • If you have never received a dose of Tdap, one dose of Tdap should replace one dose of Td for booster immunization if the most recent tetanus toxoid-containing vaccine was received at least 10 years earlier.
    • Adults over 19 years of age in close contact with, or anticipating contact with, infants aged 12 months or younger or with pregnant women, who have not previously received Tdap should receive a dose of Tdap; an interval as short as two years since the most recent Td is suggested.
    • Health-care personnel in settings with direct patient contact who have not previously received Tdap should receive a dose of Tdap; an interval as short as two years since the most recent Td is recommended.
    • The CDC recommends pregnant women receive Tdap before pregnancy. Recommendations in 2011 from the CDC add that pregnant women who have not been previously vaccinated with Tdap should get one dose of Tdap during the third trimester or late second trimester -- or immediately postpartum, before leaving the hospital or birthing center.
    • The vaccine side effects are mild but can include tenderness, redness, or a lump at the site of the injection, and fever.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/18/2014

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