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  • Silence the Sounds of Pertussis

    I’ve been asked to tell you about the “Silence the Sounds of Pertussis” campaign, and remind you that while pertussis, better known as whooping cough, isn’t as prevalent as it once was, it’s still around and it can still be deadly.

    Pertussis is caused by a bacterial infection that can strike at any age, but is particularly dangerous for babies. Pertussis is characterized by a “whoop” made when gasping for breath after a severe coughing attack. Visit PKIDs Online to hear what pertussis sounds like.

    Pertussis usually starts with cold or flu-like symptoms (runny nose, sneezing, mild fever and cough). Your child might have pertussis if he or she has the following symptoms about two weeks after the first cold or flu-like symptoms appear:

    • a cough that sounds like a “whoop” as he or she struggles to breathe
    • a cough that produces a thick mucus
    • lips and nails may turn blue due to lack of oxygen
    • your child is left exhausted after the coughing spell
    • vomiting after a coughing spell

    If you suspect your child has pertussis, visit the pediatrician, since he or she will require antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection.

    For more information, visit the “Silence the Sounds of Pertussis” site.


    1. Thanks for participating in this week’s Carnival of Family Life: St. Patrick’s Day Edition at Colloquium! The Carnival will be live at midnight (Pacific time) on March 17, 2008, so drop by and check out all of the wonderful submissions included this week! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

    2. Liz Ditz says:

      Here are my two posts on the Silence the Sound of Pertussis campaign:

      Why Vaccinate? and PKids’ Campaign: Silence the Sound of Pertussis. I’m keeping a list of bloggers contributing to the campaign there; I’ve added your blog to the list.

      Did you know that a person with pertussis is contagious long before the cough develops?


      Young infants are at highest risk for pertussis-related complications, including seizures, encephalopathy (swelling of the brain), otitis media (severe ear infection), anorexia (severe restriction of food intake) and dehydration.

      Pneumonia is the most common complication and cause of infant pertussis-related deaths.

      Whooping cough can be life-threatening for infants who are not fully vaccinated. In fact, over the last decade, 80 percent of whooping cough deaths occurred in infants under 6 months of age.

      In adolescents and adults, whooping cough can cause severe coughing that can make it hard to breathe, eat, or sleep, and can result in cracked ribs, pneumonia, or hospitalization.

      Here’s an adult’s description of her recent bout with pertussis