The Renown Health team is aware of the confirmed cases of whooping cough in northern Nevada. We are working closely with the Washoe County Health District to ensure the health of our community. Please read the following information if you have questions or concerns about whooping cough.
What is whooping cough?
Pertussis is also known as "whooping cough" because of the "whooping" sound that someone makes when gasping for air after a fit of coughing.
Coughing fits due to pertussis infection can last for up to 10 weeks or more.
Who does whooping cough affect?
Whooping cough can be serious for all people, but it is especially serious, even deadly, for babies, the elderly and immuno-comprised individuals. It is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that is easily preventable by vaccine.
How does whooping cough spread?
Whooping cough is very contagious and spreads from person to person, typically by coughing or sneezing. Infected people are most contagious up to two weeks after the cough begins.
What should someone do if they are experiencing symptoms of whooping cough?
If you have whooping cough symptoms visit your Primary Care provider or an Urgent Care provider toward the end of the day. Pick up a mask immediately upon check-in. If you have a family member or friend with you, have the person without symptoms get the mask for you prior to entering the medical facility. Do not seek treatment at an Emergency Room unless it is an emergency.
What is the treatment for whooping cough?
Whooping cough is typically treated with antibiotics, and early treatment is very important.
Is there a vaccination for whooping cough?
There are two vaccines for whooping cough, or pertussis:
- DTaP (children under 7)
- 2, 4 and 6 months
- 15-18 months
- 4-6 years old
- Tdap (7 years and older)
- Pre-teens: 11-12 years old
- Pregnant Women: During the 27-36 weeks of pregnancy
- Adults: Every 10 years or more frequently if you’re in contact with babies.
Because whooping cough is especially serious, even deadly, for babies under one year old, parents should be vaccinated.
How effective is the vaccine?
The vaccine is 73-98% effective within the first year. It’s effectiveness decreases after 5 years, so it’s incredibly important to keep your vaccine status updated.