Fort Worth, Texas,
11:59 AM

7 Facts About Whooping Cough You Should Know

If you live in Keller, specifically if you have a child at Timberview Middle School, you may have received an email confirming  a case of whooping cough, or pertussis, in the area.

If you are concerned about your child, here are seven facts you need to know:

1. Monitor your child for cough, particularly if it is occurring in severe spells or they cough so hard that they vomit. The characteristic whoop of whooping cough occurs when the child is inhaling after their cough.

2. Older children and teenagers may have severe cough but usually do not have the whoop. Infants are very susceptible to pertussis and have an increased risk of hospitalization and death.

3. Be aware that the vaccination for whooping cough is not perfect. Even if your child is vaccinated, you should be on the lookout for symptoms, particularly if you live in the Grapevine-Colleyville area or know that your child has been exposed.

4. If you are concerned your child might have whooping cough, your doctor can run a test and start treatment with an appropriate antibiotic. (Even with treatment, the cough can last several weeks.)

5. Students who are diagnosed with pertussis should remain home until they have completed five days of antibiotics or until 21 days have passed since their cough started.

6. Those who live in the house of persons diagnosed with pertussis should receive treatment to prevent the infection as soon as the infection is confirmed.

7. Other close contacts (not in the house) that should receive treatment for exposure include: those at high risk for pertussis (infants and pregnant women in the third trimester), those with health conditions that put them at more risk (severe asthma or immunodeficiency), contacts of a case that have contact with a child less than 1 year of age and contacts who work in high risk settings (NICUs, childcare and maternity wards.)

If you have further questions, please contact your pediatrician.

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Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club  and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.

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