A BUELLETIN FROM
MILLINOCKET REGIONAL HOSPITAL AND THE MAINE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION(MeCDC):
Since December 29th, 2016, Millinocket Regional Hospital has seen an increased number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases in the Katahdin Region. Pertussis is an infection that affects the airways and is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Its severe cough can last for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting. Anyone can get pertussis, but it can be very dangerous for babies and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with pertussis, especially brothers and sisters, as well as mothers and fathers, can spread pertussis to babies.
Whenever you or a loved one is sick with a cough, it is ALWAYS best to cover your cough (tissue, mask or cough into you sleeve) and wash hands frequently.
- If your child has an unusual cough:
- Keep your child home from school and activities, such as sports or play groups. See items 4 and 5 about when your child can return to these activities.
- If your child has been told by a doctor that they have a weakened immune system, and they have been in contact with someone diagnosed with whooping cough, ask your child’s doctor to prescribe antibiotics to your child as soon as possible to prevent pertussis. Antibiotics should be given to a child with a weakened immune system if they may have been exposed to pertussis, even if he or she is not coughing.
- If your child lives with anyone who is diagnosed with whooping cough and may have been exposed to pertussis, ask your child’s doctor to prescribe antibiotics as soon as possible to your child, even if he or she is not coughing. This is especially important for the following:
- A woman who is pregnant
- A baby younger than 12 months old
- Anyone with a weakened immune system
- If your child has been diagnosed with pertussis by his or her doctor:
- Tell the school that your child has been diagnosed with pertussis.
- School officials may request that you keep your child home from school and activities, such as sports or play groups, until your child has been on antibiotics for five days to treat pertussis.
- Ask your child’s doctor for a note that states your child has pertussis.
- If your child’s doctor says your child does NOT have pertussis:
- Ask for a note from the doctor telling the school that your child’s cough is NOT pertussis and that your child can return to school and other activities at any time.
Please make sure your family’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Protection against pertussis from the childhood vaccine, DTaP, decreases over time. Older children and adults, including pregnant women, should get a one time pertussis booster shot called “Tdap” to help protect themselves and babies near or around them. If you need Tdap, contact your doctor. Patients of MRH Family Medicine and Primary Care can call 723-5173 to schedule a vaccination.