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The Nurses Nook

Welcome to the SHS Nurses’ Nook
The Stevenson nurses want to provide you with helpful healthy tips and resources for the Stevenson community. Check in often for updated health promotion information for students, parents, faculty and staff  

Pertussis or Whooping Cough Overview:
What You Need to Know

Transmission (How it is spread): From person to person, usually if someone coughs, sneezes, or laughs. If you get droplets on her hands and touch your mouth or nose.

Contagious: Most contagious during the early stages and up to about 2 weeks.

May develop 5 days up to 3 weeks after exposure.

First symptoms:

o   Runny nose
o   Nasal congestion
o   Red, watery eyes
o   Cough

After a week or two:
o   Thick mucus accumulates inside your airways causing uncontrollable coughing.
o   Coughing attacks may cause vomiting, red or blue face, extreme fatigue, end with a high-pitched “whoop” sound during the next breath of air.

Many people do not have the “whoop,” but consistent hacking is the only sign. Waking up out of a sound sleep due to coughing can be another symptom.

See the chart below with the progression of symptoms of Pertussis from the CDC:


Complications: Bruised cracked ribs, abdominal hernias, broken blood vessels, dehydration, weight loss, passing out, loss of bladder control, pneumonia and hospitalization.

Most at risk: Infants, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals.

Prevention: The Pertussis vaccine is essential to decrease the chance of getting Pertussis.

· The vaccine is very important for people around children. Adults’ immunity wanes over time, so checking with your doctor to see when you had the vaccine last will help protect those around you.

·  People who are vaccinated can become infected with and spread the disease, but it is usually less serious for those people.

Treatment: Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed and stay home from work or school for the duration of the antibiotic course.

·  Early treatment (before coughing fits start) can help decrease the severity of the illness and prevent the spread of the bacteria.

·  After three weeks of having Pertussis, treatment may not help because the damage has already been done to your body and the bacteria is already gone.

 Please check out the links below for additional important information and the references for this document:

Information about Pertussis (Whooping Cough) from the CDC:

Information about Pertussis from the Mayo Clinic:

Information from Kids Health:

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