Mar 28, 2014 8:18 PM
People in Tehama County are being warned against whooping cough -- there have been several cases already reported in the area.
"...right now we actually have 4 cases confirmed and we have two suspect cases."
That's a pretty significant number for Tehama County, which had no reports of Pertussis -- better known as whooping cough -- in 2013.
"It's a bacterial illness that's spread by the air if you're coughing and singing...doing things like that...it could also spread through sharing drinks, sharing lip gloss..."
There were more than 1400 cases of whooping cough reported across California last year -- that's twice the number reported in 2012.
"It's definitely showing us that it's in the community...and so we are very worried about it."
Despite the name of the disease, early signs of whooping cough can include a runny nose, sneezing and mild fever.
The cough comes last and worsens over time, which is why it's crucial to get treated early on.
"..in some individuals, they'll develop lung problems...they could develop pneumonia..."
Adults are just as likely to get whooping cough as infants are, but their symptoms aren't as obvious, making it a lot easier for them to spread it to their surrounding environment.
"Typically pertussis actually does peak every 3-5 years..."
Linda suspects the spike in whooping cough cases for Tehama County is part of that natural peak.
"...we are really recommending any pregnant women or any family members, close contacts of infants and babies, to get immunized."
She says getting vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent getting or transmitting the infection.
If you're already vaccinated, here's a few more helpful tips:
"...good washing of hands...covering of coughs..."
Whooping cough can be treated with antibiotics if it's caught in the early stages.
The Tehama County Health Services agency urges anyone with a sudden cough to contact their health care provider.