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Spotlight On Health

What is Whooping Cough?

Kids of today get a series of shots to protect them from getting whooping cough, but some kids will still get it. Babies who have not had all their series of shots are at risk for whooping cough. This is a very serious illness for a baby, and also affects adults ages 60 and older.

Whooping cough, which is also called pertussis (pur-tus-is) is a bacterial infection of the respiratory system. This includes your lungs and breathing tubes. Whooping cough got its name from kids coughing a lot and in between coughs, they make a “whoop” sound when they try to take a breath.

In 1906, two French scientists discovered the pertussis bacteria and this became the first step to creating a vaccine to prevent this disease. Thousands of children used to get it because it spreads very quickly. Pertussis bacteria can live in the saliva in mouths and in the mucus in noses. It is spread by people coughing or sneezing and releasing tiny droplets in the air that other people breathe in. Colds are caught this way also.

Read on and learn more about Whooping Cough and how to prevent this and other illnesses in today's Spotlight on Health!

Click HERE to download this activity as a printable PDF.

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