Earlier this month, just over 20 additional cases of pertussis (also known as whopping cough) were reported in San Diego County, putting the grand total at 83 for the year of 2014. Considering the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 430 cases 2013 and a significantly lower number of 165 in 2012, it is important to learn about pertussis and what you can do to keep yourself, as well as your family healthy.
How will you know if you or someone you know has pertussis? A typical case begins with a cough and a runny nose which can last anywhere from one to two weeks. This is then followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits, which are highly characterized by a “whopping sound” at the end. Most cases do not include other flu-like symptoms such as fever, and if present, will only be mild. Because the symptoms are non-specific, it’s best to consult with a professional La Jolla doctor or physician if you think pertussis may be the cause.
The best form of defense against the disease is to be up-to-date on your vaccinations, and this is especially important for infants and young children. If you are not sure about the current status of your DTaP vaccine, your regular physician will be able to look into your records and recommend the course of action that will best protect your health.
In addition to your primary care physician, the Tdap booster shot is available at local retail pharmacies for a fee. If you are not covered by a medical insurance plan, the shot can be provided at little to no cost from a San Diego public health center. As mentioned previously, it is recommended that doses of the vaccine are taken to help keep the number of infected individuals from rising.
Learn more about healthcare in La Jolla by using our online directory and find the doctor’s office, pharmacy or medical center near you that can help keep you healthy and happy as we head into the spring season!