Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

There have been several cases of pertussis in the counties surrounding us recently, so the Forest County Health Department would like to share some important information.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It can affect people of all ages, but is most serious among infants and young children.

Among infants and young children, the signs and symptoms begin much like a cold with a runny nose, possible fever, and a mild but irritating cough for one to two weeks. The illness progresses to spells of explosive coughing that can interrupt breathing, eating, and sleeping and is commonly followed by vomiting and exhaustion. After the cough, many patients may make a loud crowing or “whooping” noise as they struggle to inhale air (hence the name “whooping cough”). The severe coughing spells can last for several weeks to months. Among older children and adults, the signs and symptoms are usually milder and without the typical “whoop”.

The best way to prevent pertussis among babies, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated.

Also, like many respiratory illnesses, pertussis is spread by coughing and sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria. Practicing good hygiene is always recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.

Be sure to:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands, if you don’t have a tissue.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.

Typical treatment for pertussis includes antibiotics, and early treatment is very important.

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms of pertussis, it is best to call your doctor to make an appointment. You may be asked to wear a mask to the clinic so as not to expose anyone else. It is also important to stay home and away from others if you are experiencing symptoms to prevent spread of the illness.

For more information visit or or call the Forest County Health Department with any questions at 715-478-3371.

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Drug Take Back Event


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Survey for future physical activity and nutrition programs

Please take a few minutes to answer this 10 question survey to help us plan future programs.  Thank you for your time!


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Red Ribbon Walk and Presentation

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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Breast Cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women. 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life.

breast-cancer-awareness-monthA mammogram is an important step in taking care of yourself and your breasts. A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray that allows specialists to look for changes in breast tissue that aren’t normal. The American Cancer Society recommends that starting at age 40 women at average risk should have the choice to begin yearly mammograms. Women should begin yearly mammograms at age 45, and they can switch to every 2 years at age 55. And all women, no matter their age, need to let their doctor know about any changes to their breasts.

Besides getting mammograms on a regular basis, there are other things you can do to proactively take control of your health and reduce your risk of getting breast cancer including:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity, especially weight gain after menopause, has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer
  • Stay physically active. Women who exercise regularly decrease their risk of developing breast cancer
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Alcohol use has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer and the greater the intake, the greater the increase in risk.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Know what is normal for your breasts
  • Report any changes to your doctor

Talk to your doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours has had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.

If you are concerned about the cost of a mammogram, the Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP) provides breast cancer screenings for women ages 45 to 64 that are uninsured, or underinsured; or aged 35-44 with breast symptoms or concerns, and that meet income guidelines. The WWWP also provides cervical cancer screenings.

For more information on the WWWP please contact Nichole Peplinski, WWWP Coordinator, at 715-369-6119.

For more information on breast cancer please visit:



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