Clinton experiences whooping cough

    11:20 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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    Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 7 to 10 days after being exposed and include:

    • Persistent, rapid coughing fits
    • A “whooping” sound, caused by rapid intake of air following a coughing fit
    • Vomiting caused by extreme coughing
    • Exhaustion after coughing fits


    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas Health Department has confirmed that whooping cough has hit Clinton.

    The Health Department said it is working with doctors in Van Buren County to vaccinate children and their parents.

    THV 11 couldn't get a comment from the Clinton School District , but we wanted to see what the best way is to prevent the disease from spreading. So, we talked to a Pulaski County school nurse.

    "We encourage good hand washing with soap and water. We also keep Germ-X around," said Mills High School Nurse Rae Rice.

    Dr. Gary Wheeler with the Arkansas Health Department said pertussis is threatening students in the Clinton School District.

    "There are probably a lot of other kids and family members in the early stages and may only have a mild cold symptom," said Wheeler.

    The symptoms progress into sneezing, fever, and after one to two weeks of severe coughing.

    Dr. Wheeler said antibiotics can help prevent the spread of the disease but it does not soothe the coughing. He advised that if you have any symptoms see your doctor. Than, those around you should get a booster shot, even adults and pregnant women.

    "It can be dramatic to the point of people vomiting after they finish coughing," said Dr. Wheeler. "We know immunizations are effective, but the duration is less effective than what we used to think it was."

    Typically, children receive the shot before kindergarten, but Wheeler said it wears off between the ages of 10 and 12.

    "I'm absolutely certain these booster immunizations in Clinton will heighten the children's resistance," said Dr. Wheeler.

    Nurse Rice is also keeping a close eye. The Pulaski County Special School District does not have any reported cases, and she plans to keep it that way.

    "We push our vaccinations and make sure our kids are vaccinated," said Rice.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, pertussis can cause serious illness in infants, children and adults. The disease starts like the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and maybe mild cough or fever. But after 1-2 weeks, severe coughing can begin.

    Follow Pam Baccam on twitter @pbaccam.

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