More whooping cough cases reported now that school in session
Shelley Walcott reports Video by 620wtmj.comvideo
MILWAUKEE- More cases of whooping cough are being reported, now that kids are back in school.
Wisconsin is leading the country in the whooping cough outbreak, with nearly 3,500 cases in the state so far this year. And that has parents and doctors on alert.
Parents like Nicole Aasen aren't taking any chances. She just had her four-year-old vaccinated against pertussis -- also known as whooping cough -- and her two-year-old is up next.
The Milwaukee Health Department says nine Milwaukee area schools have reported whooping cough cases since the school year started. One university and an after-school program have also been affected.
Pediatrician Dr. Sarah Hambrook says pertussis usually starts as a cold, and gets worse.
"Where you have coughing jags where you just keep coughing, coughing, coughing, coughing until there's no air left in your lungs and then you... (inhales) take a whoop and that's why it's called whooping cough," said Dr. Hambrook.
Schools with students affected by whooping cough usually send home letters. Dr. Hambrook said that's when parents should bring their children in.
"It can last for weeks and weeks and weeks if you don't catch it early enough."
And, it can be deadly, especially among infants -- enough reason to worry about the rise around Milwaukee, and enough of a reason for parents like Nicole Aasen, to get her children vaccinated.
"If something happens, you deal with it when it comes and just roll with the punches I guess," said Dr. Hambrook.