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:
- Runny nose
- Mild cough
- Mild fever
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.