JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --The Duval County Health Department is releasing advice about preventing whooping cough after an increase in reported cases.
The health department said the rise is not unusual, but urged parents to follow required immunization recommendations.
Pertussis is a bacterial infection that spreads easily from person to
person by sneezing or coughing. People who contract pertussis may have
severe coughing attacks that can last for months.
In children pertussis starts with a runny nose and cough for one to two weeks. After that it is followed for weeks to months by severe coughing fits. Sometimes these fits end with a whooping sound, hence the name whooping cough. Some people may develop a low-grade fever, but the health department said it is rare.
The CDC has a site where you can listen to what pertussis in an infant sounds like.
Although vaccines are the best defense against whooping cough the protection wears off over time. Teens and adults should get vaccination boosters to prevent spreading the illness to children or infants. Infants as young as 6 weeks old can receive the vaccinations. A child is not protected against pertussis until they have received all three vaccinations in the series.
It is recommended teens and adults receive the booster shots especially if they have contact with infants. Pregnant women may receive the vaccine prior to becoming pregnant, during pregnancy or after giving birth. It is recommended fathers be vaccinated before the birth of their baby.
Other prevention measures recommended by the health department:
- If you are sick with a respiratory illness, limit contact with other people. It is also important to keep infants away from people who are sick with a respiratory illness.
- If someone who has close contact with you is diagnosed with pertussis, it is recommended that you take appropriate antibiotics even if you are in good health and fully vaccinated.
- If you have an illness with a bad cough or a cough that lasts a long time, it is recommended that you go to see a healthcare provider, that you ask about pertussis, and find out if you should be tested for it.
For more information about the pertussis vaccine you can contact the Duval County Health Department Immunization Center at 904-253-1420.
If you or a family member has recently been diagnosed with pertussis, contact the Duval County Health Department Epidemiology Program at 904-253-1850.
For more information on pertussis, visit the websites below or call the Duval County Health Department at 904-253-1850.
First Coast News