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Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Washington State has seen a significant increase in Whooping Cough (Pertussis) cases over the past several weeks. There have been 21 confirmed cases in the lower Yakima Valley as of May 19, 2017.

What is Whooping Cough

Whooping Cough is an infection that affects the airways and is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Its severe cough can last for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting. Anyone can get whooping cough, but it can be very dangerous for babies, older adults and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with whooping cough, especially brothers and sisters, as well as mothers and fathers, can spread Whooping Cough to babies.

How to Prevent Whooping Cough

Please make sure your family’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Protection against Whooping Cough from the childhood vaccine, TdaP, decreases over time. Older children and adults, including pregnant women, should get a Whooping Cough booster shot called “Tdap” to help protect themselves and babies near or around them. If you need Tdap, contact your doctor or call Astria Sunnyside Hospital, an Astria Health Affiliate, to find a vaccine provider near you.

Take Precaution when Visiting Patients

In order to protect our patients and community, Astria Sunnyside Hospital, an Astria Health Affiliate, is taking extra precautions to limit the spread of Whooping Cough in our Valley. Our staff and providers have received specific education on Pertussis prevention and treatment. We ask that if you are feeling ill or coughing, please do not visit our Family Birth Center (birthing unit) or others in the hospital who might be at high risk. Masks and hand hygiene supplies are available for patients and their families.

What You Can Do

  1. If your child has a cough:
    • Keep your child home from school and activities, such as sports or play groups. See items 4 and 5 about when your child can return to these activities.
    • Make an appointment with your child’s doctor as soon as possible and tell the doctor that your child may have been exposed to whooping cough.
  2. If your child has been told by a doctor that they have a weakened immune system, ask your child’s doctor to prescribe antibiotics to your child as soon as possible to prevent Whooping Cough. Antibiotics should be given to a child with a weakened immune system if they may have been exposed to Whooping Cough, even if he or she is not coughing.
  3. If your child lives with any of the following people, they may have been exposed to Whooping Cough:
    • A woman who is pregnant
    • A baby younger than 12 months old
    • Anyone with a weakened immune system
  4. If your child has been diagnosed with Whooping Cough by his or her doctor:
    • Tell the school that your child has been diagnosed with pertussis.
    • School officials may request that you keep your child home from school and activities, such as sports or play groups, until your child has been on antibiotics for five days to treat Whooping Cough.
    • Ask your child’s doctor for a note that states your child has Whooping Cough.
  5. All pregnant women should be vaccinated with each pregnancy, preferably between 27 and 36 weeks.

To make an appointment with a Astria Sunnyside Hospital family doctor if you have concerns about whooping cough either call 509.837.1500 or visit one of our primary care doctors



Learn More

Washington State Department of Health

Center of Disease Control: Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Tdap Vaccination 

Understanding Whooping Cough

Contact Us

Find a Primary Care Doctor

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