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Exercise: Plain Language

Imagine that you need to communicate to the general public about a pertussis outbreak. You request information about the disease from a co-worker and she hands you the information below. Prepare a fact sheet by rephrasing each statement in plain language.

Instructions: In the boxes below, type in how you would rephrase each statement. Click “compare answer” to compare your plain language sentences with those of an expert.

Prepare a Fact Sheet

“Whooping cough” (pertussis) is a disease that spreads very easily and can affect your body’s breathing. A bacteria causes the disease.

Whooping cough might start like the common cold, with a stuffy nose, sneezing, and maybe a mild cough. The coughing may become more severe. If you have whooping cough, you may cough so hard that you gag or vomit.

Antibiotics can treat whooping cough and prevent the spread of disease to others, especially if you take it soon after the illness starts.

You aren't contagious with whooping cough after you’ve taken antibiotics for five days.