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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Pertussis, or whooping cough, is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. Your air passages get plugged with thick mucus, which causes coughing spells. Pertussis is usually less serious in adults and most serious in babies and young children. Pertussis is caused by bacteria. It is easily spread in the air when someone with pertussis coughs or sneezes.
Call 911 for the following:
- You have trouble breathing.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- Your cough is getting worse.
- You are vomiting and cannot keep anything down.
- You are not sleeping or resting because of the cough.
- You have a headache, dizziness, or confusion.
- You have dry mouth or increased thirst.
- You are urinating little or not at all.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Antibiotics help treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your 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.
Manage your symptoms:
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. You may need to drink small amounts of liquid every hour when awake. This will help prevent dehydration. Good liquids to drink are water, fruit juices, or sports drinks. Limit caffeine.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. If you are not hungry, eat smaller amounts more often. Healthy foods may give you energy and help you feel better.
- Rest as much as possible until you begin to feel better.
- Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for you to breathe and help decrease your cough.
- Do not smoke or be around anyone who smokes. Your breathing and coughing may get worse if you are near smoke. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.
Prevent the spread of pertussis:
- Tdap vaccine is given to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). The vaccine is usually given to children 11 to 12 years of age who were vaccinated against these diseases. Children and adults who were not fully vaccinated or whose vaccination is not known may need at least 1 Tdap dose. A Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster shot is given every 10 years after the final Tdap dose. Pregnant women are given 1 dose of Tdap during each pregnancy, usually at 27 to 36 weeks.
- Stay away from others if you have symptoms of pertussis or have had contact with someone who has pertussis. Do not return to work until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Ask your healthcare provider if you or family members need to receive antibiotic medicine or a booster shot.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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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.