Westwood Junior High School in Saint-Lazare, Que. has released a statement informing parents that a student at the school has a case of the whooping cough, a contagious bacterial disease affecting the respiratory tract.
The school released the statement on Friday, Dec. 20.
In the statement, school principal Nick Hayter asks parents to keep their children at home for up to three weeks, or a minimum of five days if diagnosed with whooping cough.
The school is also encouraging parents to vaccinate their children against the contagious disease.
Symptoms of the disease include light fever, runny rose, red/watery eyes and coughing, according to the Government of Quebec’s website.
Complications of whooping cough can include pneumonia, convulsions, rib fractures, and in rare cases, brain damage or death.
Public Health recommends giving children acetaminophen, commonly known as Tylenol, and suggests avoiding acetylsalicylic acid such as Aspirin.
This, the site says, can lead to serious brain and liver illnesses.
The disease is spread through droplets emitted from the nose or throat of the infected person to another.
A person with the illness will be contagious up to three weeks after starting the cough if not treated, and is contagious up to five days after the beginning of treatment, according to Public Health.
Pregnant women and young children are especially vulnerable.
According to the Government of Quebec’s wesbite, whooping cough is a reportable disease in the province and public health authorities must be informed when a case is detected.