Cover your cough

Sarah Valverde, Assistant Editor

While watching Jersey Shore, a commercial often appears at least once or twice during the 30 minute show. A woman stares somberly at the camera, holding her baby. She whispers, “You’d think the safest place for your child is in your arms.” The baby coughs. She goes on to introduce the whooping cough vaccine, begging you to get your shots.

This faceless child could be anyone’s. This year, San Diego County has reached a new record in a whooping cough epidemic.

To clarify, Pertussis is an upper-respiratory bacterial infection that causes one to cough violently. In other words, it’s a disease that makes it difficult to take in air. It earned its nickname, “whooping cough,” from the whooping sound made when the infected tries to take a breath.

“As of June 15, California had recorded 910 cases of Pertussis,” The California Department of Public Health said.

Considering the last record of 371 in 2005, this is a significant increase from previous years.

In an attempt to keep the numbers of victims down, the public is encouraged to take some specific measures to keep themselves healthy. For example, a vaccine is available. For those who can’t get the shot, keep clean. Public places now offer hand sanitizer and wipes—use them. Whooping cough is highly contagious and spread through the air. One can never be too clean in a situation like this.

Depending on living situation, one may be more vulnerable to this disease. For example, nine of the ten infants killed came from close-knit Latino families.

“A majority of them live with a greater number of people and hence are rendered at a boosted exposure to upper respiratory illness,” Rasik Sharma said in his article regarding the situation.

In circumstances like these, focus on keeping anyone ill away from other members of the household. Try and keep the home germ-free. Most importantly, keep coughs covered up and away from other people. Elbows are particularly handy when a tissue is unavailable.

Remember, only cleanliness will keep this disease from hitting even harder.  Seek medical attention if you feel that you have symptoms of whooping cough.