Whooping cough hits the Tri-States

Photo Credit: File photo

Pertussis is here.

Pertussis is a respiratory illness that's better known as whooping cough.

This KHQA safe family report shows so far there are nine confirmed cases in Adams County...that's double the number from last year.

One of the cases was recently found in Blessing Hospital.

Once it was found, the hospital was proactive of getting the word out.

It found 169 patients and about 120 staff that may have been infected.

Hospital staff have been calling all possibly infected people and offering them a five day antibiotic.

We want to be clear here, the hospital is contacting all people who may have been infected.

If you do not get a call from the hospital, there is no need to worry about this specific case, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be aware that whooping cough is in the Tri-States.

The sound of whooping cough is awful. It's transmitted through the air when an infected person coughs and other people breaths in the germs.

"Pertussis is sometimes called the 100 day cough because of the infection and the damage that it does to the respiratory tract. It causes a person to continue that coughing. It can be very exhausting and stressful for them," says Carleen Orton an Infection Control Coordinator with Blessing Hospital.

Whooping cough can affect infants and young children more because of their small airways. There is a vaccine available at the Adams County Health Department that is recommended. For adults, it costs $45.00 and it's $10.00 for kids.

"The thing that I would ask from an ER physician is to not have everybody descend upon the Emergency Department because of this. If it's a small child with significant respiratory problems, that's the person you want to be seen quickly," says Dr. Richard Saalborn.

It's also important to note that family doctors can treat whooping cough.

Dr. Richard Saalborn also says if any of your loved ones have to go to the Emergency Room, it's best to not have the entire family come in because the more people in the waiting room, the better chance someone has of catching something else.

Some symptoms for whooping cough include those similar to a common cold like runny nose, sneezing, and a mild fever.

A dry hacking cough may start and turn into coughing spells that can make it hard for you to breathe.

Symptoms usually start 6 to 20 days after exposure to the illness.

For more information from the Illinois Department of Public Health, click here.