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Texas Health Department issues whooping cough alert

by |  September 13th, 2013

A recent alert from the Texas health agency about whooping cough, also known as pertussis, caused concern among patients and families.

imgres-1-1I recently spoke about this to KLBJ-radio.

While you don’t need to stress about it (there are plenty of other things to stress about as parents!) the risk is very real and you should know what to do to keep your family safe.

Why did the alert go out?The agency issued the alert because of the surge in whooping cases seen in Texas last month. While it’s not an immediate health concern in Central Texas, it’s important to know that whooping cough is easily spread and can be serious and even fatal for people with fragile immune systems such as newborns and elderly.

What is it? Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that initially exhibits cold-like symptoms. After a couple of weeks, severe coughing can begin and even have a “whooping” sound.

What can I do?Get vaccinated. Infants are most likely to catch whooping cough from a parent. Make sure preteens in your family get their booster shot at age 11. And if you have a newborn, keep him or her away from anyone coughing and be sure everyone in your family is vaccinated. Pregnant women should get the vaccine with each pregnancy to protect their unborn child.

This last point is important. There is a lot of attention on moms getting vaccinated but partners and grandparents should, too. The best protection is to make sure that everyone who is frequently around your newborn is vaccinated.

411 Pediatrics


Dr. Ari Brown founded 411 Pediatrics and After Hours Care in Austin after two decades of education and experience in child development, behavioral pediatrics and pediatric healthcare. Our pediatric associates, consisting of pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and lactation consultants, share a common goal. We partner with parents to help children grow up healthy, happy, and resilient!

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