Pertussis or Whooping Cough Information

In late May, another confirmed case of pertussis has been identified at Richmond Secondary School and other students and staff may have been exposed. Pertussis is a contagious disease of the lungs and throat caused by bacteria in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person. It is spread when the sick person coughs or sneezes. If you become infected, it usually takes about 7 – 10 days to get symptoms, but it may take as long as 21 days. Early symptoms are like having a cold (e.g. sneezing, running nose, low fever, mild cough). Usually 1 – 2 weeks later, symptoms may include long spells of coughing that often end with a whoop or crowing sound when you breathe in. The coughing may be so bad that the person gags or vomits. This cough can last up to two months and happens more at night. Pertussis can be very serious and life threatening for pregnant women and infants under 1 year old. If you have early symptoms of pertussis, see your health care provider to get tested and treated. Early treatment can reduce the duration of the cough, which can last many weeks. Also, the earlier you are treated with antibiotics, the less likely you are to spread the disease to other people.

For more information, read the attached document.  If you are concerned, make an appointment with your health care provider.

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