Whooping cough is making a come back

By Sara Allen

At first, whooping cough seems like a cold, but the symptoms grow severe and can last for three months. Photo courtesy of Google images

Recently, an email was sent out to inform parents that a student at Fort Mill High School had been exposed to whooping cough. The only thing most teens know about the illness is that it is not good to catch. So, what exactly is whooping cough?

Whooping cough is also known as pertussis. It is a disease that affects the lungs and is highly contagious. The symptoms closely resemble the common cold. They include: fever, runny nose, sneezing, congestion and a mild cough. The severe coughing begins about one to two weeks after coming down will the illness and can last up to three months.

The disease is spread from person to person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the bacteria can get into the air and the people in the area are exposed. If the infected person coughs in their hand then shakes another person’s hand, give them a high five or touches anything another person will touch afterward, he/she is putting people at risk. People are normally contagious for 21 days; however, the time when they are most contagious is before they even know they have whooping cough.

There is little medicine can do to help cure whooping cough because for the medicine to work best it has to be administered at the first signs of the illness, but that is when the person still believes he/she has a cold. There is a vaccine called Tdap that protects against whooping cough. Tdap also protects against tetanus and diphtheria.

Prevention methods of whooping cough are the same for any other disease spread from one person to another. Hand washing should be done whenever possible. If there is a large outbreak, medical masks are recommended. For the person who has the illness, cough into your elbow instead of your hand to reduce spreading the disease from touching another person or an object someone else will touch.

For more information on whooping cough, visit The website offers helpful tips for preventing the spread of whooping cough as well as more information about the disease. Because a student at FMHS has been exposed to the illness there is a risk that it will begin to spread around the school. Take it upon yourself to use the prevention methods to stay healthy.


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