WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a serious respiratory illness that, according to the American Lung Association, only 30% of adults have the vaccine against.
Being highly contagious, the organization is working to educate and encourage people to get the vaccine, especially those living with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Health professionals say that fall is when whooping cough is on the rise, making it just another reason to go ahead and get the shot.
“Pertussis is a bacteria that affects the respiratory tract, it can cause a lot of nasal congestion and more importantly, inflammation of the airways, which can lead to a cough that can be prolonged and shortness of breath, and individuals who aren’t treated it can go on to pneumonia, hospitalization, and even death,” says the Chief Medical Officer at the American Lung Association, Dr. Albert Rizzo.
And unfortunately, with Covid still going around, symptoms between it and pertussis can be easily confused.
Rizzo says that the only real way to determine the difference is to get tested.
“The test that looks for Covid does not find Pertussis, influenza diagnosis does not find Pertussis, so this has to be something brought about by your primary care doctor, because if it’s identified early on, it’s definitely treatable with antibiotics.”
He says that while Pertussis is more contagious in children, they receive a regular shot for it, unlike adults. He says that actually, people need to get the shot every 10 years.
You should speak with your healthcare provider about getting TDAP, the vaccine that protects against Whooping Cough. You can also visit the lung association on their website to learn more about it.