Parents, siblings, and other caregivers of infants are often the ones who unknowingly spread pertussis (whooping cough) to babies. In fact, if just 1 member of a household has it, there’s an 80% or greater chance that other susceptible household members will catch it.
Adults are susceptible to pertussis, because the vaccine you received as a child wanes after 5-10 years.
That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults and adolescents, especially those in close contact with an infant, receive a single dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) vaccine.
Babies who catch pertussis often get the disease from those who are closest to them. Researchers have found that when a source was identified, in up to 80% of infant pertussis cases, babies caught the disease from a family member, primarily a parent.
One of the best ways to help protect your baby is by making sure he or she is fully vaccinated. You should also talk to those who are closest to your baby about getting an adult pertussis booster vaccine.