Whooping cough attacks student body

Dragon Press Editorial Board

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As the seasons change, many are worried about contracting pertussis, or whooping cough. Alison English/The Foothill Dragon Press.

‘Tis the season of sickness once again, however this time it is not just the common cold.

According to Ventura Unified School District Health Services, there have been confirmed cases of students with Pertussis, better known as whooping cough.

Pertussis is a disease that triggers cough fits that makes it difficult for people to breathe and is easily spread by simply coughing or sneezing.

Mild symptoms that include low or no fever, runny nose, sneezing, and a mild cough tend to go unnoticed by many students who believe to have the common cold. However after only a couple of weeks, symptoms quickly worsen and lead to large coughing fits which may include vomiting, red or blue face, a “whooping” sound, extreme tiredness, sweat spells, and other respiratory problems.

Many members of Foothill’s student body have been getting sick lately. While an approximate number could not be released, school nurse Mary Johnson claims that during the cold and flu season, about 160-170 students on average students are sent home or have been excused from school due to illness pertaining to common cold and flu symptoms alone.

Senior Cassandra Gluck, who has recently recovered from the common cold, asked, “I could not have had pertussis because I had the vaccine; how could I get sick if I had the vaccination?”

Senior Emily Dixon, who has also recovered from the common cold, believes, “I think everyone should get vaccinated again. My friends have gotten sick and claim not to have pertussis, but how would they know?”

The school district suggests that students who are over age 11 and not up to date with their shots, receive a Tdap booster shot to prevent further spreading of the disease.

“It’s hard for Foothill students to not come to school because they don’t want to miss class,” explains Johnson, “but they should stay home for the staff and faculty as well as other students. I encourage [students] to get booster shots.”

This disease can be fatal to infants, therefore students in Ventura Unified are advised to avoid contact with small children as well as younger family members.

If a student is experiencing the above symptoms, they should remain at home until they are finished with treatment, or are no longer contagious.

 

Photo Illustration: Whooping cough may become a problem for hardworking Foothill students. Photo by Alison English of The Foothill Dragon Press.

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