JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - According to USA Today, public health officials have been concerned about the recent outbreaks of whooping cough.
"It's kind of basic cold symptoms but the problem is it persists into a very prolonged cough that can last for weeks," said Dr. Lowery Beck.
The sickness most commonly affects babies and young children but can be caught by anyone.
"If adults have been coughing with a nasty cough more than two weeks, it's a good chance its Pertussis," said Dr. Beck.
Unfortunately, this it's not a 24 hour sickness. Dr. Beck said something like this can stick around for nearly a month.
"This can go on and linger for several weeks. That's what kind of makes it more severe than other respiratory infections," said Dr. Beck.
Along with severe coughing episodes, even throwing up blood is a common symptom. If not treated, it can spread quickly and even become fatal in some cases.
"It's pretty contagious. There's a good chance that the kids that are close by someone who has it in the classroom, can going to get it also," said Dr. Beck.
Vaccinations start as early as two months for babies. By the time they've reached kindergarten, they've received 5 vaccinations but as time goes on, those vaccinations no longer protect you with age.
"It would be really great to get all the adults to get a vaccine. That would really help a lot," said Dr. Beck.
Over the counter medications will not cure whooping cough. There is a specific anti-biotic used to help manage the symptoms to keep it from getting worse and staying in your system.