As reported by WHNT 19 News, the Alabama Department of Public Health is warning people of the increased prevalence of ‘whooping cough’ this year.
Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is an infectious bacterial disease. Affecting people of all ages, it is an airborne disease that spreads through the coughing and sneezing of an infected person. After becoming infected, people can experience severe coughing fits. These can be so severe that people may vomit, break ribs, and have difficulty breathing.
The disease is particularly dangerous for babies less that one year, and the CDC says the best way to prevent the disease is by getting vaccinated.
Speaking to prevention, Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer said,
“Alabama is not alone in the growth of pertussis cases. Nationwide we have seen an increase in pertussis cases, and while there are several factors that could contribute to this, one generally accepted reason from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that although the pertussis vaccine is effective, it tends to decrease in immunity over time,” She said. “That’s why it’s so important that we educate Alabamians on this disease and let them know how they can prevent and treat it.”
The CDC notes that while antibiotics can be given to people already exposed to the disease, they advise that proper hygiene can be a useful tool to prevent contraction. Included on their website they list these steps to help prevent against infection.
- • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
• Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands, if you don’t have a tissue.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
To learn more about the disease and what you can do to combat it, visit the CDC’s website.