Posted by William on July 18, 2012
Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is one of the most serious of the classic childhood diseases. This highly contagious bacterial infection affects the respiratory tract and is spread through the air by coughing and sneezing.
If untreated, the illness can cause pneumonia and permanent lung damage.
Thanks to widespread immunization, whooping cough is now relatively rare in the United States. It is most common in children, but teen-agers and adults can also get it — even if they have been immunized — though their symptoms are less severe.
Antibiotics can prevent more serious symptoms if given during the first stage of the illness. During the second stage, antibiotics can only make the infection less contagious. For infants, hospitalization may sometimes be necessary.
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