Thursday April 19, 2012
Whooping Cough Still A Problem
continue to see new cases
Submitted by Louise Henry, Pair Home Design, Chilliwack
Health continues to urge all adults who are in regular contact with
young children, including pregnant women and their partners, to see
their doctor or participating pharmacist and get the free whooping
Since early December there
have been more than 255 cases of whooping cough reported in the
region, including more than 45 new cases since the beginning of
March. The actual number of cases is likely much higher. Cases were
initially confined to the eastern Fraser Valley, but recently cases
have been reported in almost all other Fraser Health communities,
indicating that the disease is still circulating.
Whooping cough is a very contagious disease that causes severe
coughing that may last for months. It can be a very serious illness
in young children and babies, who have small airways. More than half
of infants less than one year of age who get whooping cough must be
hospitalized and in some cases, it is life threatening.
"Fraser Health has distributed over 30,000 doses of the whooping
cough vaccine to doctors and pharmacists," said Dr. Paul Van Buynder,
Fraser Health's Chief Medical Health Officer. "We continue to see
new cases and urge anyone who has or expects to have contact with
infants and young children to get vaccinated."
Fraser Health is also encouraging parents to ensure their children
are fully immunized and is asking healthcare professionals and the
public in all Fraser Health communities to be alert for the signs
and symptoms of whooping cough. Early diagnosis and treatment will
help prevent the spread of the illness to those most at risk.
The vaccine offers protection for 4-10 years so there are many
adults without adequate coverage. Free vaccine is available through
doctors' offices and participating pharmacies for all adults and
youth who have not had a whooping cough booster in the past five
years and who are in regular contact with young children. A list of
immunizing pharmacies can be found at:
To check your child's immunization records and make an appointment,
if necessary, for childhood immunizations, contact your local health
here during regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 am -
WHAT IS WHOOPING COUGH (PERTUSSIS)?
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a very contagious disease that causes
severe coughing that may last for months. Whooping cough spreads
easily through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or
laughs, putting bacteria into the air. After the bacteria infect
someone, symptoms appear about 7 to 14 days later.
Early symptoms are like those of a cold (sneezing, runny nose, a low
fever and a mild cough). But over the next week or two, the cough
gets worse leading to longer spells of coughing that often end with
a whoop or crowing sound when the person breathes in. The coughing
may be so bad that it makes a person gag or throw up. Sometimes a
thick, clear mucous is spit out. This cough can last up to a month
or two, and happens more at night.
Health care providers are reminded that whooping cough is a
reportable condition which requires immediate notification to public
health. Doctors should be alert to whooping cough if they see kids
or adults with symptoms.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU/YOUR CHILD DEVELOPS SYMPTOMS?
If you/your child develops cold-like symptoms that you think may be
whooping cough, you should be examined by a doctor. Call ahead so
that you can be seen quickly and not expose other people by sitting
in a waiting room for any period of time. You may also be examined
in an isolation room (if available) and given a mask to wear, or,
arrangements may be made for you to attend the clinic at a time when
the waiting room is empty. Bring your/your child's immunization
record with you.
For more information, visit:
www.fraserhealth.ca/whoopingcough and at Healthlink
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice