Multiple cases of whooping cough reported at schools in Wadsworth

WADSWORTH, OH (WOIO) - The Medina County Health Department confirmed a third case of whooping cough at Wadsworth City Schools.

Even though school is out for the summer, there's a chance other kids are already infected and they don't know it yet.

Whooping cough is also known as Pertussis or the 100 day cough. It gets it's name because of the "whooping" sound someone makes when gasping for air after coughing. It's highly contagious and can keep you sick you for months.

"You have these episodes where you cough, cough I mean 30 seconds, a minute, a minute and a half at a time. It can be hard to breathe. The coughing can be pretty severe, you can crack ribs," said University Hospitals Doctor Amy Edwards.

Edwards said the disease can be hard to detect because it starts like the common cold.

According to the CDC, early symptoms include a runny nose, low-grade fever and mild, occasional cough. Later on, you have coughing fits with a high-pitched "whoop" sound, vomiting and exhaustion.

Anyone can catch the whooping cough, even people who got the vaccination because after a few years it's only about 70 percent effective.

"Picture being sick for a 100 days or more, if you're vaccinated that might shorten it down to a couple weeks or maybe a month," said Edwards.

Edwards said it's not uncommon to see waves of the infection pop up, like what happened at Wadsworth City Schools in May.

"When you have a vaccine that's not as effective as you wish it to be and then you introduce unvaccinated people to that mix that's just a recipe for disaster," she said.

If you think you have whooping cough, see a doctor right away. Antibiotics will help stop the infection from spreading.

"You can expose people to the bacteria for 21 days after your infection starts, so you're contagious for three weeks. The Azithromycin takes that down to five days," Edwards said.

Doctors recommend children get the vaccine then follow up with boosters in their teens and as an adult. Not only does the vaccine help protect you from getting sick, it helps protect newborns and the elderly, who can die from whooping cough complications.

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