AMES, IA - Story County Public Health has seen an upswing in whooping cough (pertussis) cases in the county this spring.
Public health officials recommend that adults check their immunization records, and that parents check their children's records as well, to ensure vaccinations are up to date.
The most common symptoms of pertussis in children are fits of coughing, followed by vomiting, a 'whooping' sound as air is inhaled, and difficulty sleeping. In adults, a lingering cough that can last months is often seen. This is why many adults do not realize they have pertussis.
Children should receive pertussis-containing vaccine at 2, 4 and 6 months, at 15 through 18 months, and at 4 through 6 years. A booster dose of pertussis-containing vaccine is also recommended at 11 or 12 years of age. Any adult 19 through 64 years of age who has not received a dose of Tdap (the adult tetanus vaccine that also contains whooping cough vaccine) should get one as soon as feasible.
While children ages 5 to 14 years typically make up the bulk of reported cases, it’s especially important that adults receive pertussis-containing vaccine because they can spread the disease to infants who are too young to be immunized. In infants, pertussis can be severe and even deadly.
Infants are susceptible to the most severe symptoms of whooping cough. Parents with babies less than six months old are strongly urged to get a vaccination. They should also keep their infants away from family and friends who may have coughs. Diligent cough hygiene, including frequent hand washing, is also recommended.
Contact your primary care physician, your pediatrician, or HOMEWARD Public Health to get vaccinated against pertussis. HOMEWARD Public Health offers the Tdap vaccine on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the HOMEWARD office, located at 1114 Duff Avenue in Ames. For more information, call HOMEWARD at 515-239-6730.
Contact Story County Public Health at firstname.lastname@example.org.