Island Health warns parents to keep up on immunizations to prevent illnesses like whooping cough. (Pixabay)

Island Health warns of whooping cough at Vancouver Island school

Island Health is urging parents to watch out for signs, and to keep immunizations updated

Island Health has sent out a letter to parents at Macaulay Elementary School in Esquimalt that there’s been a probable case of pertussis (whooping cough) amongst students.

The letter warns parents to look out for initial signs of the infection, which starts with cold-like symptoms and progresses to a severe cough with a distinctive “whooping” sound, which may be followed by gagging or vomiting.

It can spread from sneezing or coughing in close vicinity to another person, by kissing, or by sharing food or beverages.

ALSO READ: Island Health confirms 5th case of whooping cough in south Island

The infection can be very serious, especially for infants under one year of age and for pregnant women, as it can also be passed on to newborns.

If someone is diagnosed with whooping cough they will require five days of antibiotic treatment.

Island Health is also reminding parents to make sure their children are up to date with their immunizations against whooping cough. The immunization is usually given to a child in their first year of life, at 18 months and when they go into kindergarten. An additional booster shot is also available when youth are in grade 9.

Anyone who would like more information, or to check their immunization records, can visit their local Public Health Unit.

Island Health says a case of pertussis, or whooping cough, has occurred at Macaulay Elementary School. Parents are advised to contact their local Public Health Unit for more information. (File contributed/ Island Health).

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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