Whooping Cough – what was old is new again!


Post contributed by Dr. Anne Dubosky, Fellow AAFP

You may have heard about whooping cough (pertussis) or even had the vaccination as a child, but have you heard that cases are on the rise? The CDC reports that Utah is one of 37 states with a significant rise in the number if cases. With that in mind, it’s good idea to know a bit about it. This isn’t your average tickle in the throat; we’re talking a cough nasty enough to cause vomiting, difficulty breathing or even cracked ribs!

Even if you’ve heard of this disease, chances are there are still things you don’t know. For example, people who have had the vaccination or even had the disease as children may no longer be immune. Immunity to the disease wears off over time. Something else you may not know is this disease can be fatal to infants or those 12 months and younger.

So what can you do about it? Get a Tdap booster shot. The vaccine also prevents tetanus and diphtheria. You’re primary care provider (PCP) can give you a Tdap shot and check to make sure you are up to date on other immunizations. Bottom line, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Talk to your PCP soon about this important vaccination.

Maybe you are trying to figure out whether your symptoms or those of a loved one could mean whooping cough. The disease causes a deep “whooping” noise when you breathe in after a cough. In adults, more common is the sense of being unable to catch your breath after a coughing spell.

If you think you have whooping cough, it’s important to see your PCP right away. Antibiotics can lessen the severity of symptoms if prescribed early enough. Some medications used to treat the common cold may actually be harmful, so make sure you consult your provider for proper medications.

Dr. Dubosky is a primary care physician at Lone Peak Primary Care in Draper, UT. Same day appointments and evening hours are available for urgent care patients. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call 801-545-8480 or visit their website.

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