A student in your child’s school has tested positive for Pertussis, a disease also known as whooping cough.
What you should do…
If your child has not had all their childhood shots, you should contact your doctor or the Health Department to get them caught up. Please watch your child for any symptoms of pertussis (mild, cold-like symptoms) over the next few weeks. If you notice these symptoms in your child, please call your doctor as soon as possible and let them know that your child was exposed to pertussis.
How you catch it and what it is…
Pertussis is easy to catch through face to face contact with someone who has it. What happens is that a sick person releases tiny drops of saliva (spit) into the air when they are coughing, sneezing or talking. Someone who is within a few feet of the sick person may breathe in the saliva that contains the pertussis germs. Pertussis is not generally spread by touching objects or surfaces that have the pertussis germs on them.
Pertussis begins like a mild cold, with a cough and runny nose. These first symptoms usually appear 5-10 days after having contact with someone who has pertussis. The cough usually gets worse over the next week or two until the sick person has coughing fits (a bunch of coughs in a row without a break to take a breath) that may sound like a high-pitched “whoop.” The coughing spasms may be followed by vomiting. Some people with pertussis may have very mild symptoms (mild cough with no other symptoms) and may not realize that they are sick or contagious.
Pertussis is treated with antibiotics. Students with pertussis must stay home until they have taken their medicine for 5 days. If a student does not take antibiotics, they must stay home for 3 weeks. It is very important that if your child develops these symptoms, he or she see the doctor, take their medicine, and stay away from others (especially babies and young children).
The Pertussis vaccine shot is given with diphtheria and tetanus vaccine (DTaP) to protect children against whooping cough. Please check with your doctor or the Health Department to make sure your child’s shots are up-to-date. The Health Department’s number is 419-668-1652 ext. 258.
For more information see the attached FAQ Sheet