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How can whooping cough (pertussis) be prevented?

The pertussis vaccine is the best way to prevent the highly contagious disease of whooping cough. The vaccine is typically combined with diphtheria and  tetanus vaccines. Children usually get a dose at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years, with a booster (TdaP) at 11-12 years. That may seem like a lot of shots, but remember that pertussis can be a dangerous disease, especially for babies. The vaccine does have some possible side effects that include fever; prolonged crying; and very rarely, seizures and coma.

For adults, doctors administer a booster shot to maintain immunity. People who have been exposed to someone with whooping cough can take a preventive course of antibiotics.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.