12News has learned that a case of Whooping Cough has been confirmed at Helena Park Elementary. Whooping cough, or Pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that mainly affects infants, but can also impact kids with weak immune systems.
Tuesday, Helena Park Elementary sent home notes to parents warning them of one case at the school.
Principal Dr. Darrell Evans tells 12News that the infected student has two siblings who attend other schools in the district and that parents of those schools were also notified. A notification is also posted on the district's website.
Pediatrician Doctor Marian Cordovez Tan says the first symptoms are the same as a common cold: coughing, runny nose and sneezing. Then, a dry cough occurs with coughing spells.
Whooping cough is most contagious during the beginning stages for about one to two weeks. The best preventative measure is being vaccinated because it could cause a more serious illness.
"It can be very bad. It has some serious side effects. It's also devastating for children who are infants to six months old," says Cordovez Tan.
The sickness doesn't go away overnight. Sometimes whooping cough lasts months. Since it's airborne, the best protection is what Cordovez Tan calls "common sense."
"When you cough, you have to cover your mouth with your arm or do constant hand washing," she says.
Nederland ISD says no other cases of whooping cough have been reported and that it will provide additional information to parents if it becomes available.