Pertussis (whooping cough) can cause serious illness in babies, children, teens, and adults. Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 5 to 10 days after you are exposed. Sometimes pertussis symptoms do not develop for as long as 3 weeks. The disease usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. In babies, the cough can be minimal or not even there. Babies may have a symptom known as “apnea.” Apnea is a pause in the child’s breathing pattern. Pertussis is most dangerous for babies. About half of babies younger than 1 year who get the disease need care in the hospital.
Early symptoms can last for 1 to 2 weeks and usually include:
Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
Mild, occasional cough
Apnea – a pause in breathing (in babies)
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- For those who care for pregnant women. Click here for more information.
For a great video from the CDC to share with your expecting patients, click here.