Whooping cough symptoms and treatment
Six students and one staff member were sent home from Glenwood Elementary School with whooping cough.
The school notified all parents of the outbreak. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools spokesman Jeff Nash said the district took extra care to inform parents whose children had been in close contact with sick students or staff.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, spreads through coughing or sneezing and can be dormant for for up to three weeks before symptoms appear.
At first, whooping cough looks like a normal cold, but it escalates to a cough characterized by a “whooping” sound when the patient inhales. The cough can become violent and rapid enough to cause vomiting and exhaustion. The illness can be especially dangerous to infants, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Whooping cough is a preventable disease. For children 7 and younger, the vaccine for whooping cough is included in the DTaP vaccine, which inoculates children against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. For older children and adults, the Tdap vaccince protects against all three illnesses.
The CDC “recommends whooping cough vaccination for all babies and children, preteens and teens, and pregnant women. Adults who have never received a dose of Tdap should also get vaccinated against pertussis.”
Nash said whooping cough will pop up around the district every few years. Last year, The Herald Sun reported that whooping cough affected a group of high school students at Chapel Hill High and East Chapel Hill High.