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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Campus advisory notifies community of multiple whooping cough cases

WWU Student Health Center// Photo Courtesy of Google Maps

By Crista Blowers

The campus community received a Campus Advisory alerting students of the spread of whooping cough on May 20.

Whooping cough, also known by the name pertussis, has started to impact the lives of students on campus over the last two months, according to the advisory. Western’s Student Health Center is working to keep the illness from spreading, the advisory states.

According to the advisory, there have been six identified cases of whooping cough on Western’s main campus.  

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the early symptoms of whooping cough include runny nose, low-grade fever and a mild cough, lasting for about one to two weeks. After one to two weeks without treatment, symptoms can escalate to rapid coughs with a high-pitched “whoop” sound, vomiting and exhaustion after coughing episodes.

The CDC stated that if whooping cough is circulating in a community, there’s a chance that a fully vaccinated person of any age could catch the very contagious disease. Vaccines, however, can make infections less serious.

According to the Western’s Student Health Center Director Dr. Emily Gibson, whooping cough requires close contact with an infected person in order to spread. Gibson said even if students aren’t sick, they should still wash their hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner, as well as make sure students cover their coughs.

As hard as it might seem sometimes, if a student is sick then they should not go to class and contact their professor ahead of time.

According to the Western Medical Excuse Policy, a student absent from any exam or class activity through sickness is judged by the instructor to be unavoidable. Students can be given an opportunity to take a rescheduled exam or make up the class assignment in a timely manner agreed upon by the instructor.

The Student Health Center encourages students who believe they have whooping cough to schedule an appointment or contact their usual health care provider. Students can also visit the Student Health Center at 2001 Bill McDonald Pkwy or visit the website at https://studenthealth.wwu.edu/make-appointment to make an appointment.

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