Coos Health Officials: Prepare for Whooping Cough

Coos Health Officials: Prepare for Whooping Cough
NORTH BEND, Ore.-- Coos County Public Health says it is noticing increasing numbers of Whooping Cough throughout the county and state, and it wants residents to get vaccinated.

Coos County Public Health says it is currently examining 5 active cases of Whooping Cough in the county, and the numbers across the state are even more concerning.

So far this year, there have been 547 cases of Whooping Cough in Oregon compared to 178 cases during the same time period last year.

Public Health Nurse Lena Hawton tells KCBY that infants are the most vulnerable because they haven't been vaccinated yet.

"Infants are the ones we are concerned the most with beacuse they have these coughing spams [and] they're not getting good oxygen," Hawton said. "Sometimes they get so exhausted they can't eat, can't drink, and they can even die."

Hawton said there are separate vaccines for children and adults that can prevent the spread of Whooping Cough.

"The whoop associated with the cough is the noise people make when they are actually coughing and then struggling to breathe and take in air," Hawton said.

Hawton said one of the best ways of prevention, in addition to the vaccines, is to cover your cough.

There are two vaccines available. TDap is a booster that is available for children 11 years old and older, and DTap is available for children two months old through 6 years old.

"It because they have to wait until they are two months old is why infants are so vulnerable," Hawton said. "They just simply haven't been vaccinated yet."

The vaccines are available at Coos County Public Health for uninsured patients at a cost of $15. Private insurance is also accepted, but there may be a co-pay or out of pocket costs to insured patients as well.