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Whooping Cough: Why You Should Consider Vaccinating

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: What are the symptoms of whooping cough you should be aware of?
Air Date: 11/11/15
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Katherine Edwards, MD
Katherine Edwards Kathryn M. Edwards, MD, is the Sarah H. Sell and Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Pediatrics and directs the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program.

She graduated from the University of Iowa College of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency and infectious disease fellowship at Northwestern University and her postdoctoral training in Immunology at Rush Medical School in Chicago.

Dr. Edwards joined the Vanderbilt Vaccine Program in 1980 and has conducted many pivotal vaccine studies since that time. She has had an extensive experience in leading NIH-funded multicenter initiatives; in designing, conducting, and analyzing pivotal Phase I, II, and III clinical studies on vaccines and therapeutics; in facilitating networking with basic and clinical investigators with a wide range of interests and expertise; and in mentoring many of the young investigators who currently work within the research unit.
Whooping Cough: Why You Should Consider Vaccinating
Pertussis, or whooping cough, is less common in young children than it used to be, as the pertussis vaccine has made most children immune.

Before this vaccine was developed, there were several hundred thousand cases of whooping cough each year in the United States. Now, there are approximately one million cases a year in the U.S., but mostly in adults and adolescents.

What are the symptoms?

Pertussis often acts like a common cold for a week or two. Then, the cough gets worse, and the older child may start to have the characteristic "whoops." During this phase (which can last two weeks or more), the child often is short of breath and can look bluish around the mouth. She also may tear, drool, and vomit.

Infants with pertussis become exhausted and develop complications such as susceptibility to other infections, pneumonia, and seizures. Pertussis can be fatal in some infants, but the usual course is for recovery to begin after two to four more weeks. The cough may not disappear for months, and may return with subsequent respiratory infections.

Who is most at risk?

Listen in as Katherine Edwards, MD, discusses the symptoms of whopping cough, who is most at risk, and how you can prevent it.
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