Waiuku College News

Whopping cough alert

Picture of Todd Malcolm
Whopping cough alert
by Todd Malcolm - Friday, 23 March 2018, 3:20 PM


Dear parent,

A pupil at Waiuku College has been notified with whooping cough (pertussis).  

Watch for signs of whooping cough

· The early signs of whooping cough include a runny nose, fever, or cough (often worse at night) which gets worse over time turning into long coughing bouts  that  may end in gagging or vomiting. Most people begin to feel unwell 7-10 days after exposure.

 · If your child develops any of the early signs of whooping cough in the  three  weeks following their exposure or if they have a cough that has lasted for more than two weeks

See  your  GP - call ahead  and  let  the  practice  know you think you may have whooping cough so they can be prepared

Stay away from babies, children under 12 months, and pregnant women until you have seen your GP

Stay home from school until they have completed 5 days of antibiotics (or three weeks from the start of cough if no antibiotic treatment is given) to prevent them spreading the infection to other children.

What is whooping cough?

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a bacterial infection that usually starts with a runny nose, fever, and dry cough. The cough gradually gets worse and last for 8-12 weeks, often developing into long coughing attacks. In babies and young children, coughing attacks often end with a ‘whoop’ sound at the intake of breath, or with vomiting or gagging.

Who can get whooping cough?

Anyone  who  is  exposed  can  get  whooping  cough  because   immunity  (protection)   to whooping cough decreases  over time even if you have been  immunised or have had the infection before. Generally a person needs to have face to face contact with someone with whooping cough to get infected.

Immunisation is the best way to protect against whooping cough

Whooping cough immunisation is offered at 6 weeks, 3 months, 5 months, 4 years and 11 years. If you are not sure if your child is up to date with their immunisations, check with your GP or practice  nurse.  Immunisation  is also recommended  for each  pregnancy  and  helps protect both mother and the baby. Immunisation during childhood and pregnancy is free.

Antibiotics from your GP

A course of antibiotics reduces the risk of a person catching whooping cough after having close contact  with someone  who had the  illness.  Antibiotics are recommended for close

Auckland Regional Public Health Service

Cornwall Complex, Floor 2, Building 15 | Greenlane Clinical Centre, Auckland |Private Bag 92 605, Symonds Street |Auckland 1150, New Zealand

Telephone:  +64 9 623 4600 | Fax:  +64 9 623 4633 | www.arphs.govt.nz

contacts who live with infants under 12 months old, pregnant women, or those with a weak immune system. If this applies to your child, take them to the GP for a course of antibiotics.

Talk to your children about covering coughs and sneezes

Children should be taught  to cover their mouth  and nose when they cough or sneeze, to throw away any tissues they have used, and to wash and dry their hands well afterwards. This helps prevent illnesses with coughs and sneezes, like whooping cough, from spreading.


More information on whooping cough is available from the Auckland Regional Public Health website  (www.arphs.govt.nz) or phone  Healthline on 0800 611 116 or visit your family doctor.

For information on immunisation, please call the  Immunisation Advisory Centre on 0800

IMMUNE (0800 466 863) or visit their website www.immune.org.nz

Yours sincerely, 

 Edwin Reynolds

GP Auckland Regional Public Health Service