County health officials urge people to get whooping cough vaccine as state cases increase

County health officials urge people to get whooping cough vaccine as state cases increase.

YAKIMA, Wash.- With how busy everyday life can be, it's pretty easy to overlook a small cough.

But if that cough gets worse and doesn't go away in a matter of weeks, you could have pertussis or whooping cough.

While the most obvious symptom is the whooping sound that comes in between coughs there are other symptoms as well

“They have a fever, runny nose and a cough that starts very mild but ends up with a very uncontrollable cough which could lead to vomiting,” Lori Kelley with the Farm Workers Clinic said.

There is no "season" for pertussis. So, you can get it all year long and it can be deadly for infants under a year old.

As of this week, the state of Washington has seen almost 200 cases of whooping cough. Which is more than the about 150 from last year.

Kelley said it's extremely contagious.

She said a cough, sneeze or even being in someone's breathing space who has pertussis can cause it to spread.

“If you get a couple of people who have pertussis and you expose other individuals in the county it will spread rapidly,” Kelley said.

Yakima County has seen an average number of cases this year, but the public health district wants people to make sure they have all their vaccines.

Just to make sure there isn't another outbreak like last year. Which saw around four times as many cases than usual.

“We've had ten cases of pertussis, but in comparison to last year we did have an outbreak there was 74 cases that we reported,” Lilian Bravo with the health district said.

Even though it's mostly seen in children, adults can get it as well.

Grant County recently had a health alert for whooping cough. So, people in Yakima County should make sure your vaccines are up to date.

“It's always a good time to check in with your provider to make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations because the vaccine is really the best protection against pertussis,” Bravo said.

Kelley with the Farm Workers Clinic said practicing basic hygiene like washing your hands or covering your mouth when coughing can stop whooping cough from spreading.

However, if you have a fever, she said it’s best to stay home to avoid getting others sick.

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