Sun02142016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Local students contract whooping cough

Some students in local classrooms have been diagnosed with pertussis – commonly known as whooping cough – in the past few weeks.

Whooping cough starts with symptoms similar to the common cold, including runny nose, congestion, sneezing, mild cough or fever. After one to two weeks, severe coughing can begin.

“All along we just thought it was a cold,” said one local parent, who asked to remain anonymous, of her daughter’s illness. “It wasn’t until she came home and said someone else in her class had whooping cough that we took her to the doctor.”

The parent said she let the illness go for a few weeks thinking it was just a cold. But when another of her children started to show symptoms and the school sent a cautionary letter to parents, she took her children to the doctor for a diagnosis.

“It kept lingering more than a normal cold,” the parent said of the illness. “Her cough was a stronger cough than an ordinary cold. The scary part of it is, when she is coughing, it doesn’t seem like she can catch her breath.”

The Santa Clara County Department of Health reported two cases of whooping cough from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View and seven cases in Santa Clara County over the past 45 days. While doctors are required to report pertussis, they don’t always make the report, so more recent cases may not have reached the county yet.

Joanna Lai, Bullis Charter School nurse, said there have been cases at the school in the past few weeks. Los Altos School District nurse Sarah Bolter said wasn’t aware of any cases in district schools, but parents are not required to report whooping cough.

Both Lai and Bolter said that if a classroom has more than one student with the same illness, then it is standard procedure to notify parents.

Symptoms and treatment

Charles Weiss, M.D., an urgent-care physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, warned that pertussis is highly contagious, so recognizing the symptoms early is important.

He stressed that there are differences between a common cough and the whooping cough. If a cough has lasted for more than two weeks or the person coughing can’t stop, it is probably whooping cough, he said. It is common for people suffering from pertussis to make a “whoop,” a high-pitched sound when breathing in after a coughing attack. Adolescents are especially susceptible to whooping cough, Weiss added.

Weiss said schools act as incubators and the condition can spread quickly. He advised those who think they might have it to undergo testing and seek treatment. Students may return to school after five days of antibiotics. The antibiotics don’t necessarily relieve the cough, but they do decrease the contagiousness.

Unfortunately, the cough can persist, he said. An old Chinese description of the illness calls it the “100-day cough.”

“It is just miserable,” Weiss said. “It takes a lot of energy and tires you out. And no one wants to be around you.”

Diagnosing whooping cough in its early stages can decrease the length of the illness, he said.

Immunizations

Infants are immunized for whooping cough with the TDaP vaccine, a combination of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines.

In the 1990s, the U.S. switched from a whole-cell pertussis vaccine to a combined acellular pertussis vaccine. The switch resulted in fewer immediate side effects from the vaccine but is now proving ineffective in protecting against whooping cough for as long a period, Weiss said.

“So in just the past few years, we are seeing that the vaccine is not as effective,” he said. “The immunity wanes within a couple of years. I estimate that boosters and vaccinations can run out within five years.”

Incoming seventh-graders are required to get the TDaP booster, but the recent cases are being diagnosed in students younger than that. A whooping cough outbreak occurred in Palo Alto earlier this year, with 114 cases reported from April through August.

“There is sort of a periodicity to pertussis,” Weiss said. “It tends to come back every three to five years. Our last big outbreak was in 2010.”

Contracting whooping cough is typically not serious unless the patient is pregnant or an infant.

Earlier this year, the California Department of Health reported the best way to prevent infants from contracting pertussis is to have their pregnant mothers vaccinated during the final stages of pregnancy.

For more information, visit cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Pertussis.aspx.

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