by Athena Richardson, MD
PHCA Immunization Committee Chair
There has been a recent outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis) in the Tampa Bay area. (Tampa Tribune)
This disease can cause a severe and sometimes life-threatening respiratory illness in infants and young children, particularly those who are not fully vaccinated. It is very contagious and spread by airborne droplets from the cough and sneeze of infected people.
Early signs of illness include a low grade fever, runny nose and cough. After one to two weeks, violent coughing fits develop which can last up to 10 weeks or more. Infants less than one year of age have an increased risk of complications from this disease, such as pneumonia, apnea (stopped breathing), and death.
If you suspect your child has whooping cough, please alert the office staff immediately upon arrival to our office, so that we can place him or her in an exam or triage room.
How can you protect your child in an outbreak? Make sure you and your loved ones are up to date with the recommended whooping cough vaccines. Infants and children should receive the DTaP vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 months, at 15-18 months, and at 4-6 years of age. Adolescents should receive the TdaP booster at age 11-12. Teenager who missed their booster and any adult in contact with children should also receive TdaP.
These vaccines are available for parents and children in our office.