"It starts out like a common cold, runny nose, coughing but in a week or two you will develop and ongoing cough that is over and over and you can not stop and it can take your breath," said Houston County Health Dept. Nursing Director Pam Williams.
Health officials say the best way to prevent whopping cough or pertussis is to get vaccinated.
"All children born 2, 4 6, months , 12-15 months and 4 years old need to have a vaccine," said Williams.
That totals 5 vaccines by the time they're in school.
However, protection provided by the childhood vaccine series fades over time so people ages 11 to 64 can get a booster called TDAP.
"Adults should make sure that they have gotten the vaccine for pertussis especially if you got children and newborn babies around," said Williams
Health officials say the infection is highly contagious and can be a serious health threat for infants.
"It can cause death," said Williams.
The infection is contagious before sever coughing starts.
You can contact your local health department to schedule an immunization appointment.