Call your doctor if you think that you or your child has pertussis. Your doctor will take a medical history and do a physical exam. Your doctor may take a sample of mucus from the nose or throat and have it tested for the bacteria that cause pertussis. Blood tests and a chest X-ray also may also be done.
Your doctor may treat pertussis with antibiotic medication. If you or your child has pertussis and has been put on antibiotics, it’s important to stay at home until the antibiotic has been taken for at least five days.
Ask your doctor if preventive antibiotics or vaccine boosters for other family members are needed.
Treatment at home
If you or your child is being treated at home, follow the schedule for giving antibiotics exactly as prescribed. Cough medicines are not recommended and have not been shown to help pertussis. (Due to potential side effects, cough medicines are never recommended for children under age 6.)
During recovery, it’s important to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Keep your home free of irritants that can trigger coughing spells, such as cleaning products, aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, and smoke from cooking, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves.
Children with pertussis may vomit or not eat or drink much because of the coughing. Offer smaller, more frequent meals and encourage your child to drink lots of fluids. Watch for signs of dehydration and know the warning signs for pertussis complications