Pertussis is usually spread through repeated indoor face-to-face-contact with a person who is sick with pertussis. It is the actual droplets in the air that are breathed in from an infected person. The bacteria will quickly settle, and does not live on surfaces of objects (i.e. door handles, computers, desks).
Pertussis begins much like a cold with a runny nose, possible low grade fever and mild but irritating cough for 1-2 weeks. The illness progresses to coughing spells that can make it difficult to catch your breath and interrupt eating and sleeping. The severe coughing spells are commonly followed by vomiting and exhaustion, and can last for weeks to months. Unlike infants, the symptoms are usually milder in children, adolescents and adults.
Pertussis is most contagious in the early stages of the illness before the severe coughing starts, but may be spread up to three weeks or more after the start of cough. Symptoms usually appear 7-20 days after exposure.
Pertussis is in our community, not just within our schools. It is important to have the Pertussis immunization, but it does not prevent the spread of disease. Being immunized is beneficial in that it helps to minimize the severity of the disease.
Strep throat is caused by the Streptococcal bacteria. It is spread through the air when someone who’s infected coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms of infection may include one or more of the following; sore throat, bright red tongue, fever, chills, body aches, swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck, fatigue, headache, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. A cough, hoarseness, and runny nose are not symptoms of strep throat, but may indicate a viral infection.
The incubation period from time of exposure to unset of symptoms is 1-3 days. Strep throat is usually diagnosed by culturing a swab of the throat. The results of a throat culture are usually known after 2-days. A rapid strep test may be done during a doctor visit, but results are not as reliable. It is not uncommon for a rapid strep test to come back negative, and the culture to be positive. If the culture comes back positive, it is important to follow the doctor’s antibiotic orders, even if symptoms are no longer present.
Untreated strep throat can lead to complications, such as scarlet fever, rheumatic heart disease, and kidney failure.
Strep throat can be prevented:
Cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Wash hands after wiping or blowing nose, coughing, and sneezing.
Wash hands before preparing food.
See you doctor if you or your child has symptoms of strep throat.