Contagious cough has district on alert

Contagious cough has district on alert

Savannah Whitmer, Lead Reporter

There has been more than one confirmed case of the contagious respiratory illness pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, at the Little Leopards Child Development Center. Little Leopards is a program for children of Lovejoy ISD employees located at Hart Elementary.

“It’s very contagious because it’s a bacteria, it’s person to person,” school nurse Jeannie Haines said. “Typically we see it more prevalent in people that are living in close quarters and don’t have immunizations. It can be extremely harmful to infants that get really sick with it, and then of course the elderly and people that have other health problems.”

Periodic vaccinations and standard good health habits are the most effective ways to prevent contracting whooping cough.

“The very best precaution that we can all take is to stay current on immunizations, and we start immunization against pertussis in early childhood,” Haines said. “It’s one of our first baby shots. Also, students might remember before you entered the seventh grade, you had to update, and one of the big updates is the acellular pertussis. Adults should get the tetanus immunization every ten years, and the pertussis, or whooping cough, is a part of that shot. So it’s really good to stay current on your immunizations. The other thing is just good health habits. If you’re around someone that is obviously sick, you want to stay at least two feet back from them if possible. If you really are feeling ill, you should stay home. You should be conscious of those around you.”

Along with the current increase in whooping cough cases at LISD, other viruses have been popping up.

“[The doctors] confirmed that [my son] has RSV, which is a highly contagious respiratory virus,” teacher Melody Mozley said. “So the poor baby spent all night with a deep, painful-sounding cough.”

As a precaution, principals sent out an email warning parents about the case of whooping cough at Little Leopards.

“When I first read the email that there was a case of whooping cough at the same daycare my son attended I was alarmed,” bookkeeper Katie Presley said. “I had heard that certain diseases such as this existed but I never thought it would be two doors away from my ten week old baby. As a parent, all I can do to sleep better at night, is to know my child’s immune system is as strong as possible.”

Despite a recent increase in whooping cough cases in Texas, students and teachers that have received required vaccinations have little to worry about.

“We do see a rise in the number of pertussis cases, especially this year, and that’s kind of multifactorial,” Haines said. “Mostly people who are not keeping up with their immunizations in the general populus spreading disease, and people visiting from other countries. But for the most of us that keep up with our immunizations, we’re going to be fine.”