Pertussis, or “whooping cough,” can cause apnea, seizures, anoxia, and even death in infants. In young school-aged kids, it can cause pneumonia, vomiting from the violent coughing fits, and worsened colds or respiratory infections soon after. Patients can cough for up to three months after having pertussis. Adults with pertussis can break ribs from coughing so hard. They can develop hernias and have incontinence. According to Julia Piwoz, M.D., chief, Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, the best way to prevent pertussis is through vaccination.