Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial infection of childhood and adolesence, affecting children from 3 months to the teen years. It causes a severe cough and fever and can be very persistent and aggressive in the very young. In adults, it tends to cause milder infection with the hallmark of a persistent cough for several weeks to months.
Pertussis is preventable by immunization, and children generally receive them in combination with their Tetanus shots in childhood. Despite this, Pertussis is being seen with increased frequency due to a variety of factors, including:  the cyclical nature of Pertussis and the fact that the previous Pertussis vaccine, from the 90’s, was less strong than previous vaccinations employed.
To prevent this infection in children, it is advisable for adults to receive a TDaP immunization (called Tee-DAP), a Tetanus shot that contains the additional protection against ‘D’ ….Diphtheria, and aP (Pertussis….or Whooping Cough).
Since the main reservoir of infection is in adults who are asymptomatic or who have had a recent cough-related illness, we are trying to get the adults to get updated on their Tetanus shots and simultaneously get their Pertussis vaccination as well.
Tetanus is to be boosted every 10 years….so if you are overdue, or if you are just interested in avoiding the cough of Pertussis or protecting children or grandchildren, get updated on your TDaP today.