Last year several states saw huge outbreaks of pertussis, the bacterial disease that causes whooping cough. It can be nearly impossible to diagnose, especially in its early stages. Because it is particularly serious for babies, and 70 percent of infants who come down with it are exposed to it from a family member, make sure you — and any adult who cares for your baby — get the Tdap booster. If your child does become sick, Parents advisor Ari Brown, M.D., author of “Baby 411,” says to watch for these warning signs that may mean he has whooping cough.
He has bad coughing fits: Whooping cough is characterized by short, frequent coughs that are so severe your child may have difficulty catching his breath at the end of a fit. He’ll try to get more air by sharply gasping, or he may “whoop.” He might also turn very red while coughing, or even vomit.
He’s not getting better: Call your pediatrician if you’re concerned or if his cough lasts longer than a week. If it turns out to be whooping cough, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to shorten the amount of time he’s contagious. To help ease coughing spells, make sure your child gets plenty of rest and fluids, and use a humidifier in his bedroom.
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