Merced County's Department of PUblic Health will offer free immunization clinics at the Merced County Fair this week for whooping cough and swine flu.
Rates of whooping cough have risen in Merced County and California. Health officials have reported 910 cases and five infant deaths in the state so far this year. An additional 600 cases are being reviewed. Merced County has not reported any whooping cough-related deaths, but there have been 15 confirmed cases and 10 under investigation. The average number of whooping cough cases in Merced County is nine per year.
The public health department said that whooping cough usually starts out like a common cold, but should be suspected if a cough lasts two weeks or longer. There may be fits of uncontrollable coughing, a whooping sound when breathing in, and vomiting after coughing. If you suspect your child has whooping cough, call your doctor’s office and discuss symptoms before coming in. Whooping cough is contagious and precautions should be taken not expose other people.
Infants younger than 3 months are the most vulnerable, the county said. Parents and caregivers of infants should receive immunizations.
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Public health nurses are available to provide information and immunizations for pertussis and swine flu at theMerced County Fair. Immunizations will be available at a booth in a corner of the Commerce Building today from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
If you can't attend the special clinics at the county fair, you can request immunization from your primary care physician, or you can contact theMerced County Department of Public Health at (209) 381-1010 for other clinic times. For more information, visit http://www.co.merced.ca.us/health.