Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious disease that can strike people of any age but is most dangerous to children. Its name comes from the sound children make as they gasp for breath. Whooping cough typically starts with coldlike symptoms that can include a runny nose, congestion, fever and a mild cough. Parents are advised to see a doctor if they or their children develop a prolonged or severe cough. Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics, the earlier the better.
Call your doctor or go to these websites:
• Minnesota Department of Health: www.startribune.com/a1526
• U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.startribune.com/a1527
• Videos of whooping cough symptoms in kids: www.startribune.com/a1528