Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

What is Pertussis?
Pertussis is a very serious respiratory infection (in the lungs and breathing tubes) that can affect children and adults even those who are fully vaccinated.  It is highly contagious and can live in the body for up to 21 days before coughing starts.  The disease can be very severe and, although deaths are rare, they do occur, especially in infants less than one year of age.

How is it spread?

Pertussis is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.

What are the symptoms?
  • Pertussis starts with cold-like symptoms and a mild, occasional cough.  
  • The cough becomes more persistent causing coughing fits.  
  • The cough may become violent, causing vomiting or turning blue.
  •  Some people experience a whooping noise between coughs, but many do not. 

Contact your physician if you are experiencing symptoms of pertussis.  If you are being treated for pertussis, please remain at home until you have completed 5 days of treatment so that you do not spread pertussis to others.

How can I protect myself?

The key to preventing pertussis is ensuring you and your child are fully vaccinated.  
  • Children should receive one dose of the DTaP vaccine at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and at 4-6 years.  
  • The Tdap booster is given at age 11.  
  • Adults should also receive a Tdap vaccine. 
  • Pregnant women should receive a Tdap with each pregnancy, preferably during their third trimester.
Pertussis vaccinations (DTaP and Tdap) are available through the Health Department at walk-in clinics for child and adult immunizations held weekly at the Government Services Center on the following days:

Walk-In Clinics
    • Tuesdays 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Wednesdays 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Bring vaccine records
    • Walk-in clinics may close early if capacity reached
By Appointment
  • To ensure service, schedule an appointment by calling 610-344-6252.
  • Vaccine records need to be mailed, faxed or dropped off prior to scheduling.
  • You may be asked to return to a walk-in clinic for vaccine services if you are more than 10 minutes late for your appointment.
  • All clinics are closed on official holidays. 
    View the Clinic and Events Calendar for the full schedule.
    Immunization clinics are held at the Government Services Center.
Visit our Events Calendar to view all clinic dates. Immunization clinics do not require an appointment unless for a flu shot. Parent or guardian must accompany child and bring along the child's shot records.