DEAR DOCTOR K: My daughter wants me to get a booster shot for pertussis. She says it will help protect her young kids against whooping cough. Is this true?
DEAR READER: Your daughter is right. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that causes violent coughing. The coughing makes it hard to breathe and produces a deep "whooping" sound. Pertussis can occur at any age, but infants and young children are most likely to become seriously ill from the infection.