Whooping cough was once a feared disease. Until a vaccine brought the spread of the highly contagious to a controllable level. In fact, many people assume that the disease had been eradicated. While it had not been completely wiped out, the number of cases dropped so low that whooping cough dropped off the radar of parents' concerns. Whooping cough has made a big comeback and it looks like it is at or near epidemic levels.
What can you do to protect your child?

1. Make sure your child is up-to-date on vaccination against whooping cough, or pertussis.

2. Adults can get whooping cough too. If you are around kids, make sure you are up to date on your booster shoots. The booster for teens and adults, approved in 2005, was combined with the tetanus booster that adults are supposed to get every 10 years or so.

3. Understand that, even with vaccines, it is still possible to contract the disease. If it has been several years since your initial vaccination, there is a good chance that the protective value has waned. In other words, even if you have taken the vaccine, use caution. Experts are also saying that the childhood shots and the booster offer less lasting protection than previously thought.

4. SYMPTOMS: Like many other diseases, it can start off with the typical symptoms of a cold. The symptoms can include a runny nose, congestion, low-grade fever and a mild cough. Infants may have a pause in breathing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises parents to see a doctor if they or their children develop prolonged or severe coughing fits, vomiting and exhaustion.

The disease is spread through coughing or sneezing. Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics, the earlier the better.
If you or your child develop any of these symptoms, see a doctor right away. Don't assume that it's only a cold.