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What You Need to Know About Whooping Cough

December 7, 2012

SAISD officials have been advised of one confirmed and several suspected (clinically diagnosed) cases of whooping cough in the district.

Whooping cough, also known by its medical name, Pertussis, is a contagious infection of the respiratory system that causes fits of severe coughing that end in a whooping sound. Although whooping cough can occur at any age, it occurs mostly in unimmunized children and infants under 1 year of age. The protection of vaccines may begin to wear off as children get older. Children are at higher risk in school settings where they're in close contact with lots of other children. It is spread through the air by cough. Pertussis is usually mild in older children and adults, but often causes serious problems in babies less than 1 (one) year.

Signs and symptoms are similar to those of a common cold: runny nose, sneezing, an acute cough illness lasting at least two (2) weeks without other symptoms, and low grade fever. The cough evolves into coughing spells that can last for up to a minute and a characteristic whooping sound is made at the end and vomiting may occur.

Please observe your child over the next 10 days and contact their physician if they have prolonged coughing spells, especially if your child turns red or purple during these spells, the spells are followed by vomiting, and accompanied by a whooping sound when your child breathes in after coughing. Please request a nasal swab prior to treatment.

You can prevent the spread of whooping cough by taking the following precautions:

  • Wash hands
  • Covering nose/mouth when coughing
  • Staying/keeping your child home when sick
  • Have your preteen or teen receive a pertussis booster (please contact your physician for more information or questions about the booster)

Pertussis Fact Sheet

If you have questions, please contact your child's physician, campus nurse, or Melissa Schumpert, Health Services Coordinator at 947-3838 x 530.