This is the time of year that we typically brace ourselves for flu season. Now we need to prepare for something else just as nasty. Whooping Cough.

More cases have been reported in Winnebago County.

WREX reports that so far there's been "6 confirmed cases in Winnebago County since the middle of this month. All but one of them involved an area, students."

Whooping Cough, or medically known as Pertussis, first appears like a common cold. "Runny nose, low-grade fever, a mild occasional cough, and Apnea -- a pause in breathing which is usually found in babies" according to the CDC. However, that mild cough needs to be watched as it can turn into bad coughing that can induce vomiting.

Yikes. That's really nasty and gross.

So what can we do to prevent or protect ourselves and kids from it?

The CDC strongly suggests getting your children vaccinated for it. The vaccine is known as "DTaP. This is a combination vaccine that helps protect against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis."

Then stay up to date with your vaccine by getting the booster shot "Tdap [that's given to] preteens, teens, and adults that contains protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis."

Basically, it's the booster shots we're given when we entered 5th grade, high school and college.

To prevent spreading Whooping Cough, if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with it, is to practice good hygiene as it's spread "by coughing and sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the bacteria."

The CDC recommends the following steps to take:

  • 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.

Always take precautions no matter what this time of year in preventing illnesses especially with your little ones and the elderly.