Lexi Petronis, Glamour magazine
Whooping cough sounds kind of old-school, doesn't it? Like the kind of disease only people in the 1950s had to deal with. Unfortunately, it's a modern problem...
See more: 7 Signs of True Love
Nearly 18,000 people in the United States have contracted whooping cough--that's more than twice the number in 2011, and if we keep getting it at this rate, we could surpass the 40,000 who had the disease in 1959.
Whooping cough (otherwise known as pertussis) is an extremely contagious bacterial disease that manifests with a "whooping" noise as the patient gasps for breath. The National Library of Medicine says the extreme coughing can lead to vomiting or even short losses of consciousness.
See more: 19 Cute Celebrity Hairstyles to Consider
Experts aren't entirely sure what's going on--perhaps there's a problem with the effectiveness of the vaccine, or maybe the bacteria that cause the illness have somehow evolved--but they agree that anyone who's pregnant or who spends a lot of time with children needs to get a booster shot ASAP. (If you're in New York, your booster might even be free. Take a look at the chart here to see if your state has an especially high incidence of the disease--Wisconsin, Washington, and Montana are at the top of the list so far.)
See more: Swimsuits That Make You Look 10 Pounds Thinner
Pertussis isn't necessarily serious for grown-ups--other than a nagging cough and cold symptoms that can last from weeks to months (ugh)--but it can be potentially deadly for babies and children: nine kids have died this year from whooping cough.
Are you pregnant, a parent, or do you spend lots of time with kids (or all three)? Does this news worry you? Will you get the booster?
More from Glamour:
10 Things He's Thinking When You're Naked
18 Midlength Hairstyles to Consider
5 Quick Fixes for Anything That Jiggles
What Your Hair Says About You (According to Guys)