WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Pertussis is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. It is also called whooping cough. When you have pertussis, your air passages get plugged with thick mucus, which causes coughing spells. Anyone can have pertussis, but it is most serious in babies and young children. It may be treated with antibiotic medicine during the early part of the illness. In adults, pertussis can be prevented with a Tdap shot.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to kill the bacteria that cause pertussis. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Your cough could last 10 weeks or longer. Coughing helps keep your airways clear. The following can help control mucus and coughing, and help you feel better.
- Use a humidifier: Fill a cool mist humidifier with cool water and put it by your bed. The humidifier will help loosen the mucus in your throat.
- Stay hydrated: Drink small amounts of liquids every hour when you are awake, even if your throat hurts.
- Eat small meals: Eat at least 6 small meals every day. Eating small meals may prevent vomiting after a coughing spell. To calm your stomach, wait a short while to eat after a coughing spell.
- Avoid smoke: Do not smoke or be around anyone who smokes. Stay away from wood-burning stoves or fireplaces. Your breathing and coughing may get worse if you are near smoke.
- Get plenty of rest: Rest as much as possible until you begin to feel better.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You are not drinking liquids.
- Your cough is getting worse.
- You are not sleeping or resting because of the cough.
- You have the following signs and symptoms of dehydration:
- Dry mouth or tongue, sleepiness, and wrinkled skin
- Urinating less
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You are vomiting and cannot keep anything down.
- You have trouble breathing.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.