LEXINGTON, Ky. — School is just days from being in session for a majority of Kentucky students and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department along with state officials are seeing a rise in whooping cough cases.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is sending a big reminder out ahead of the school year, due to the recent rise in Pertussis — commonly known as the whooping cough — around the city. They are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated.
“This is a part of the regular vaccinations series for school-age children so most kids who are in school already have it or for various reasons, so it’s really important to make sure that if you are eligible for it, go ahead and get that and then you get the booster because this vaccine does weaken overtime,” said Kevin Hall, a spokesperson for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.
Whopping cough is a highly infectious disease that affects the respiratory tract. It causes other cold-like symptoms, making it difficult to breathe and creating a distinct sounding cough.
As students head back to shared indoor spaces, trying to prevent the spread is a challenge. The health department recently confirmed five unexpected cases of whooping cough.
Hall says symptoms are not always noticed. “If you’ve got a constant cough, maybe you’ve just been sick and coughing for two to three weeks,” he explained.
Children, pregnant women, newborns, and those around other medically vulnerable people are most at risk.
Once symptoms do show, Hall says a check-up could help.
“Right now with COVID-19 and we’re getting ready to go back to school we’re going to see just the regular school illnesses going around, so anything that has a cough difficulty breathing get checked out,” he said.
Health professionals say both students and their families should consider getting vaccinated before cases increase.
“It is vaccine preventable, one, and at it’s highest risk of those people who can’t get the vaccine and that can include people who are immune compromised so you don’t want them to get sick from it, getting vaccinated protects you and protects them — you’re really just solid members of the community by getting vaccinated,” Hall said.
The health department encourages families to help the community stay healthy by reporting symptoms to their public health department.