Cowlitz County is seeing an uptick in cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Two babies were hospitalized with the disease this fall.
Whooping cough is an infection that causes severe coughing. It spreads easily in groups. Infants and young children can become very sick with this infection, but anyone, young or old, can become ill. Most people get a shot to prevent whooping cough, but protection wears off over time.
The illness usually begins with cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose or an irritating cough. The cough can become severe, with violent episodes of coughing, and can last for weeks to months. Sometimes there can be a “whooping” sound in young children, and some people vomit after coughing. Usually, there is no fever.
To protect yourself and your loved ones, Cowlitz County Health & Human Services recommends:
- Make sure your entire family is up to date on vaccines including whooping cough. Pregnant women should get a whooping cough shot during every pregnancy.
- Anyone with a cough illness lasting at least a week should not go to school, work or other activities until seen by a healthcare provider. They should avoid contact with children under age 1 and pregnant women.
Additional questions regarding whooping cough should be directed to your healthcare provider.