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Whooping Cough Information

Named for the “whoop” sound children and adults sometimes make when they try to breathe in during or after a severe coughing spell, whooping cough (pertussis) usually starts with cold or flu-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, fever and a mild cough. These symptoms may be mild and brief, or last up to two weeks, but are often followed by severe coughing fits that may be associated with vomiting. Fever, if present, is usually mild. Whooping cough is treatable with antibiotics.

Immunization is the best way to protect against pertussis. A California law (AB 354) requires 7th through 12th graders to show proof they have received the Tdap booster shot for pertussis before they can attend classes. The bill was passed as a result of the 2010 statewide pertussis epidemic.

Pregnant women should also get the vaccine to protect their babies.

In the News


Video: Know the symptoms of pertussis (whooping cough)