Whooping Cough Case Serves As Wake Up Call For Vaccine

CHICAGO (CBS) — A case of whooping-cough has turned up at Palatine High School, and health officials say it should serve as a reminder to parents to make sure their children are up to date on their vaccinations.

Dr. Rachel Rubin with the Cook County Department of Public Health says children need at least five doses of the pertussis vaccine to protect against the viral disease.

Over the past year, the county logged more than 80 cases, and fall and winter are prime time for it.

Rubin says it starts out mimicking the symptoms of a cold and then turns into a nasty cough that can linger as long as 12 weeks.

It can become so intense, it can induce vomiting.

“It’s just such a severe, intense cough and why we call it whooping-cough,” said Rubin. “The cough can be so intense, there can be sort of this whooping sound at the end of the cough. And people just get totally exhausted by these coughs and they sort of come in waves.”

While whooping cough can last for a long time, Dr. Rubin says it’s rarely fatal.

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