Provided by Lincoln County Health Dept.
After being notified that a student at Oceanlake Elementary School in Lincoln City has been diagnosed with pertussis, county public health staff and school district staff and nurses are working together to prevent the spread of this contagious respiratory infection in the school and in the community.
Also known as whooping cough, the disease is spread by direct contact with nose and throat mucus and by airborne droplets from coughing. It is not life-threatening for infants or children over 12 months of age.
According to Public Health Division Director Joell Archibald, RN, MBA, children with whooping cough may have cold-like symptoms followed one to two weeks later by severe coughing that can last several weeks. During coughing attacks, children may gag, gasp or strain to inhale, making a high-pitched whooping sound. This may be followed by vomiting or exhaustion. There is usually no fever. Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics.
Pertussis can be life-threatening for infants under the age of 12 months who have not yet received the benefits of immunization to prevent this disease. Women who are in the last three months of pregnancy should also watch for symptoms. Medication can decrease the risk of spreading the infection to newborns.
Archibald says the best way to prevent the spread of whooping cough is for adults, children and infants to be current on all vaccinations, including pertussis. Everyone should wash hands frequently with soap and water; cover their coughs and sneezes; and stay home from work or school when ill.
A letter sent home today to parents and guardians of Oeanlake Elementary students gives the following advice if an adult or child shows symptoms of whooping cough:
1. Keep your child home from school and stay home from work if you are ill.
2. Tell your healthcare provider about your or your child’s symptoms.
3. Call Lincoln County Public Health at 541-265-0587 and let them know if you or your child has symptoms or has been diagnosed with pertussis.
4. Review your child’s immunization record, and get additional immunizations if indicated.
More information about pertussis is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (www.cdc.gov/pertussis/ )
Anyone with questions may also call Lincoln County Public Health at 541-265-0587.
Public Health Division Director, Joell Archibald, may be reached at: 541-265-0405