EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSPERTUSSIS PRECAUTIONS
from Eyewitness News Online
Students Given Precautionary Medicine For Whooping Cough
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Videographer: Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Sep. 18, 2012 5:42 PM EDT
Updated: Sep. 19, 2012 8:14 AM EDT
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
Pertussis, or whooping cough, is so severe that it can leave small children gasping for air.
When a student at Peyton Elementary was possibly exposed to the disease, the Cabell-Huntington Health Department was quick to take action. "Anytime there's close-knit quarters where children are, or adults, we have to be very proactive and get them treated," spokeswoman Elizabeth Ayers said.
The health department met Tuesday with parents of children who were in possible close contact with the second- grader who had been exposed, answering questions and giving the kids a dose of precautionary antibiotics.
Erica Pauley is getting the medicine for her 7-year-old. She also has a 6-year-old and 1-year-old at home. "That's a lot of help for me right there. It's very helpful." She said she feels a lot more confident after hearing more about the disease from the health professionals.
The Centers for Disease Control reports cases usually peak every three to five years. In 2010, more than 27,500 cases were reported in the United States. That's the most reported since 1959, when there were 40,000. Through August of this year, 23,000 cases were reported nationwide. Locally, there have been just a handful, but since it is highly contagious, health officials wanted to make sure children were protected.
"For me to walk out of this school and know that he's vaccinated, taken care of, that makes me sleep easier," Pauley said.
The health department also gives out free whooping cough, or TdAP vaccinations at its offices at 703 Seventh Ave. in Huntington on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Here are some signs and symptoms to watch out for, especially in children:
- Runny nose
- Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
- Mild, occasional cough
- Apnea — a pause in breathing (in infants)
Early symptoms can last for one to two weeks. Adults can be carriers and have little to no symptoms.
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