Dear Parent or Guardian:
Your child may have been exposed to pertussis (whooping cough). Pertussis is an infection that affects the airways and is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Its severe cough can last for week or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting. Anyone can get pertussis, but it can be very dangerous for babies and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with pertussis, especially brothers and sisters, as well as mothers and fathers, can spread pertussis to babies. School children have been routinely vaccinated against pertussis. However, it is not uncommon for people who are vaccinated to develop pertussis.
- If you child has a cough:
- Keep your child home from school and activities, such as sports or play groups. See item 4 and 5 about when your child can return to these activities.
- Make an appointment with your child's doctor as soon as possible and tell the doctor your child may have been exposed to pertussis.
- If your child has been told by a doctor that they have a weakened immune system, contact your doctor to discuss his/her exposure.
- If you child lives with any of the following people and may have been exposed to pertussis, contact your physician, even if he or she is not coughing:
- A woman who is pregnant
- A baby younger than 12 months old
- Anyone with a weakened immune system
- If your child has been diagnosed with pertussis by his or her doctor:
- Tell the school that you child has been diagnosed with pertussis.
- School officials may request that you keep your child home from school and activities, such as sports or play groups, until your child has been on antibiotics for FIVE days to treat pertussis.
- Ask your child's doctor for a note that states your child has pertussis.
- If you child's doctor says your child does NOT have pertussis:\
- Ask for a note from the doctor telling the school that your child's cough in NOT pertussis and that your child can return to school and other activities at any time.
Please make sure your family's vaccinations are up-to-date. Protection against pertussis from the childhood vaccine, DTaP, decreases over time. Older children and adults, including pregnant women, should get a pertussis booster shot called "Tdap" to help protect themselves and babies near or around them. If you need Tdap, contact your doctor to find a provider near you.
If you bring your child to a doctor for pertussis, please show the reverse side of this letter to him or her. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Kelli Gilbert, school nurse at 860-379-8521 x 1431.
Anthony Serio, Ed.D., Head of School/Superintendent