Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Washington State is experiencing a widespread pertussis outbreak.
Due to the high number of cases in our state and county, the health department is asking us to remind our school communities to review information about this illness and take appropriate measures.
Pertussis is a bacterial illness that may begin with symptoms like the common cold: a runny nose, scratchy throat and cough. The cough continues to get worse over one to two weeks. Fever is usually mild or absent. Most children and adults don’t get seriously ill, but pertussis can be life threatening for infants. Last year, two infants in Washington state died from pertussis infection.
There are many things you can to do protect your family and your community from pertussis:
§ Make sure that everyone in your family, including teens, parents and grandparents, are up-to-date on all of their shots. There is a one-time pertussis booster shot that all teens and adults should receive if they have not already had it.
§ Keep coughing people away from babies and pregnant women.
§ See a doctor for symptoms of pertussis. These include:
o Coughing a week or more with any of the following: uncontrollable fits of coughing, vomiting after coughing, or coughing until difficult to breathe.
o Coughing two weeks or more.
o See a doctor if someone close to you has recently had pertussis and you develop a cough.
o Infants, pregnant women in their 3rd trimester and people in close contact with them should see a doctor for any new or worsening unexplained cough.
§ If you have pertussis, stay out of work and school until you have finished five days of antibiotic medicine for pertussis. People who have pertussis and don’t take antibiotics should stay out of work or school for three weeks or until the cough is completely gone.
§ Cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently with soap and water, and stay home from work or school when sick.
Thank you for taking these steps to protect the health of your family and community. If you have questions about pertussis or are concerned that you might have pertussis, please call your health care provider. For more information you may also call Public Health at 206-296-4774, your school nurse or visit the King County Public Health Web site that contains a current listing of where to get vaccinations, www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/communicable/diseases/whoopingcough.aspx.
Snohomish County Immunization Resources:
(image credit : MedicineNet.com)
Basic Head Lice Facts from the School Nurse
Please note: if there is a case of lice in your child’s classroom you will receive notification.
The most important step in preventing an outbreak is to check your child's head weekly for signs of infestation. Teach your child not to share hats, scarves, combs, and headbands, or play with each other's hair, as these are ways that lice are most frequently spread. Lice are contagious and anyone, no matter how clean, may become infested.