Case of whooping cough reported at Ipswich High School

Case of whooping cough reported at Ipswich High School

IPSWICH, Mass. — A case of whopping cough has been reported at Ipswich High School, according to a letter principal Jonathan Mitchell sent to parents Monday afternoon.

Whopping cough – or pertussis - is a highly contagious respiratory disease.

"Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from your lungs," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "When there is no more air in the lungs, you are forced to inhale with a loud ‘whooping' sound."

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Whopping cough can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old.

Earlier this month, school officials at Freetown Lakeville Middle School notified parents two students had confirmed cases of whopping cough.

Symptoms can start as a runny nose, low-grade fever and an occasional cough. As the disease progresses, the symptoms can become more severe, such as rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched ‘whoop' sound, vomiting during or after coughing fits and exhaustion after coughing fits.

Any parent who believes their child has whopping cough should contact their doctor immediately.