Whooping cough has been a real issue for Valley kids this summer, and it could soon get worse as kids head back to school.
Though it's not normally dangerous for adults, pertussis could be fatal in children and spreads easily. Once the school year begins, many kids will be in close quarters, which could lead to even more cases in this area.
The Virginia Department of Health believes pertussis, also known as whooping cough or croup, comes in cycles, and this year has been a big one for the Valley.
As a result, the health department is asking parents to protect their kids by protecting themselves.
The health department is asking parents to get kids vaccinated before the school year starts, but don't be surprised if you take your kid for the shot and wind up getting one yourself.
Health officials suspect adults are the cause behind many of the cases in children.
"It's usually the youth that get infected although adults can get infected, and it's the type of thing where you say well which came first. Well, we're pretty certain that we know that the little youngsters that are getting infected are getting infected by the adults that are around them," says Dr. Douglas Larsen.
Because it's been such a problem in the area, the health department was given an $800 grant to help vaccinate adults. For parents of school kids, Dr. Larsen says it is good to set an example by getting the vaccine with them.
© Copyright 2014 WHSV / Gray Television Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.