The school nurse at Rice Elementary in Wellington sent an email to parents today, indicating that a student at the school has come down with the contagious disease pertussis, commonly called whooping cough.

According to The Coloradoan, there have been 976 cases of whooping cough reported in Colorado this year.  The state average is only 180 cases.

Whooping cough is something children are routinely immunized against and begins with cold-like symptoms, (school nurse Amy) Asher said. The bacterial illness involving the respiratory tract progresses to a severe cough that may cause vomiting, breathlessness, a change in facial color or a whooping sound following the coughing fits, Asher said.

It can last from six to 10 weeks and is spread through sneezing and coughing, and “contact with droplets” from the respiratory tract of an infected person. Symptoms could appear between four and 21 days after exposure, Asher said; though, it usually takes between seven and 10.

The Coloradoan also reports that If you, or any members of your family, are showing symptoms that may lead to whooping cough:

  • Take care not to expose anyone else to the symptoms.
  • Consult your health care provider right away regarding the symptoms.
  • Make sure the entire household's immunizations are up-to-date.
  • If the person definitely has the disease, he or she should stay home from work or school until after being on antibiotics for at least five days.

If you have any questions, contact either your health care provider, or the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment at (970) 498-6700.

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