SITKA, Alaska — Health officials in Sitka say there's a rise of whooping cough cases in Alaska, following a trend moving up the West Coast from California.
Ellen Daly, a nurse at the Public Health Center in Sitka, tells KCAW (http://is.gd/XjTXPO) that immunization is the best way to combat whooping cough, a highly contagious bacterial infection.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, could act like a cold at onset with a sniffle and cough. But she says it's a good sign it's pertussis if the cough lasts seven days and if coughing ends with vomiting.
Children as young as two months can be immunized, and it's part of the regular series of vaccinations. Adults around children also should be immunized.
Babies and small children are more vulnerable. And places where children congregate, like schools and daycares, have the highest rates of infection.
Daly urges people to go to their health care providers for vaccinations. However, if the person is uninsured or underinsured, they can visit Public Health Centers for the shots.
"We're here to serve those who can't get the service anywhere else. Someone who doesn't have Medicare, or they're not employed.they don't have money to go the doctor," Daly said.
Information from: KCAW-FM, http://www.kcaw.org