Friday, January 23, 2009

Whooping Cough Exposure

It seems like I just can't find a sane place to be. If I'm not being shot at in Guatemala, I'm being exposed to whooping cough at the elementary school I'm interning at in the States.

According to the CDC, Pertussis (or Whooping Cough) "causes severe coughing spells, vomiting, and disturbed sleep. It can also "lead to weight loss, incontinence, rib fractures and passing out from violent coughing." Rib fractures? Are you kidding me?

Anyway, one child was pulled from my room yesterday and positively diagnosed. Another person tested positive a week or so ago.

The pertussis bacteria is spread through droplets in the air when an infected person coughs. In an elementary school, the air is rife with little cough droplets. Time for a little cover your mouth health presentation!

As I cannot have the Tdap (I've had a tetanus shot in the last two years), I am stuck washing my hands incessantly, avoiding sneezing and coughing kids, and breaking out the face masks as a last resort. Life is never boring here!

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