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Health & Baby

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How to Protect Your Baby From Whooping Cough

Get Baby's Vaccines on Schedule

Your baby starts building his own immunity when he gets the first DTaP shot. He should get a total of five doses, one each at:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15-18 months
  • 4-6 years

When kept to schedule, the vaccine is 80% to 90% effective, and will protect the child until he or she is ready for the Tdap shot.

About one in four children get a fever or soreness, swelling, or redness at the site of the DTaP shot, most likely after a later dose. In rare cases, some children have severe reactions to the vaccine and should stop getting it.

Know the Signs of Whooping Cough

At first, whooping cough looks like a common cold. Symptoms may include:

Severe coughing may begin after 1 or 2 weeks and continue for several weeks. It causes people to take deep, quick breaths that can make a "whooping" noise.

Babies may have little or no cough, but they can have apnea, or pauses in breathing.

If you or your child has a cold with a severe cough, see a doctor. If it is whooping cough, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to ease symptoms and help keep it from spreading to others.

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Reviewed on January 22, 2014

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