By the way, doctor: Do I need a booster vaccination against whooping cough?

Published: December, 2009

Q. A friend was recently diagnosed with whooping cough. Her doctor told her that everyone, no matter what age, should be vaccinated for the disease every 10 years. Is that true?

A. Whooping cough (pertussis) is a respiratory infection that causes protracted coughing jags, accompanied by a characteristic "whooping" sound as the person struggles to catch her breath. Most Americans think that childhood vaccines have eliminated whooping cough, but it's still with us, and since the 1980s, it's been on the rise.

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