The Suffolk County Department of Health Services recently issued an important health alert related to a growing number of diagnosed pertussis cases. The alert was issued because reported cases of this illness, better known as “whooping cough”, have tripled over the past year according county and state health officials. While there is no need to be alarmed, it is important that you to have the facts about this illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can cause serious illness among young children - especially infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated. Whooping cough starts out like the common cold with symptoms including a runny nose or congestion, sneezing, mild cough and slight fever. Parents and caregivers should monitor their child over the course of two weeks to see if the symptoms worsen into a more serious and severe cough. The main symptom to be aware of is a series of violent, rapid and repeated coughing fits that last until the air is gone from the lungs resulting in a “whooping” sound.
The best way to help prevent whopping cough is to speak to a health care provider about getting vaccinated and to keep children and infants away from anyone with cold-like symptoms or cough.
For more information on whooping cough please visit the following helpful and informative links (if any of these links do not work correctly, please visit flanagan.nysenate.gov):
Suffolk County Department of Health Services Updated Health Advisories;
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Pertussis (Whopping Cough) What You Need to Know- Symptoms, Prevention and Vaccination Information; and
Sounds of Pertussis- Important Facts and Videos on Pertussis.