Whooping cough: not to be ignored

It might be the tail end of summer, but you never know when a cold or something more serious might hit.

  • Aug. 31, 2016 7:00 a.m.

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

It might be the tail end of summer, but you never know when a cold or something more serious might hit.

Whooping cough seems to have made its way into the Fort St. James area recently.

This cough is a very contagious bacterial disease of the lungs and throat caused by a bacterium found in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person. It can be spread when the sick person coughs or sneezes into the air and others breathe it in.

People who have been exposed to whooping cough, which is sometimes referred to as the 100 day cough, may develop symptoms in about 7 to 10 days after being infected.

According to Northern Health, early symptoms are like those of a cold. But after a week or two, the cough worsens leading to longer spells of coughing that may sound like a whooping or crowing sound when the person infected breathes in.

The cough may worsen to the point of having to gag or vomit and it is more persistent at night. All in all, it can last up to a month or two.

It is important that children are tested if early symptoms develop.

Early diagnosis and a treatment of antibiotics right away will prevent spreading to those at most risk including infants and pregnant women in the last three months of pregnancy.

If left untreated, an infected person can spread the germs to others for up to 3 weeks.

Parents are urged by Northern Health to ensure their children’s immunizations are up to date. If not, you may contact Northern Health at: (250) 996-7178.

For more information visit: http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/pdf/hfile15c.pdf