Whooping cough (also called pertussis) is a very contagious disease that is on the rise in Washington. Here are some things you can to do to stay healthy and keep it from spreading.

  • Getting vaccinated can keep kids and families safe. Whooping cough vaccines are the best way to prevent the spread of this serious disease. Babies are the most vulnerable to whooping cough and can even die from it, so it's important to protect them.
  • Make sure your whooping cough shots are up to date. It's important to get the right shot at the right time. Whooping cough vaccine (pertussis vaccine) is covered under your preventive care benefits. Information about whooping cough vaccines is available on the Department of Health's Whooping cough Web page, and you can also talk to your doctor.
  • Spread the word that vaccinating against whooping cough during pregnancy is important. Pregnant women should get a combined tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccine during the 27th through the 36th week of pregnancy to protect their unborn child. This can keep the newborn baby safe from whooping cough until it's old enough to be vaccinated.
  • Stay away from newborns if you feel sick or have a cough. Newborn babies can get whooping cough from someone nearby even if their moms had their Tdap shot while pregnant.
  • Remember the basics: Cover your cough, wash your hands frequently and stay home if you feel sick. If you have a persistent cough or think you might have whooping cough, call your doctor.

More information about whooping cough and how you can help prevent it can be found on the Department of Health's Whooping cough Web page.

Reprinted with permission from the Washington State Department of Health.

Published June 26, 2015.