Important Information Regarding Pertussis

This letter and Fact Sheet on Pertussis is meant to inform your family about this disease and the classic symptoms, and know when to call the doctor.

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that can spread through the air when people cough. It starts like a common cold and gets worse over 1-2 weeks as a cough develops. People with whooping cough may have coughing spells in which they feel they cannot catch their breath. As they catch their breath at the end of a coughing spell, they may loudly gasp (“whoop”) and feel like they are choking or vomit. There is usually no fever with this vigorous cough and in between coughing spells they feel fine.

Please note that even students vaccinated against Pertussis can develop this illness. It is uncommon, but it happens. It is known that vaccines can wear off over time. Children entering 7th grade get a booster vaccine to protect against Pertussis and Tetanus for this reason.
Given all this information, please contact me or your pediatrician if you have concerns about your child’s health. If your child develops a vigorous cough as described in the Fact Sheet, please contact your pediatrician for guidance and treatment.

Jeannie Johnson RN
FRSU#38 Lead Nurse

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Frontier Regional and Union 38 School Districts | 113 North Main Street - Office C101 | South Deerfield, MA 01373
Phone: (413) 665-1155
Fax: (413) 665-8506