Wash those hands! Especially if you work or play in the Waco-Mclennan County area.

News 10 reports that the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District has launched an investigation into a "community-wide outbreak of pertussis" - otherwise known as the ol' Whooping Cough.

Think back-to-school shopping is expensive? So is a child who comes home the first week of school with pertussis.

The Public Health District issued a press release yesterday stating there've been 8 confirmed cases without a single connecting source. Back on July 10th, the health district had announced the investigation of just three cases of pertussis in children who are not related and do not share a connection. However it is spreading, and it is doing so rather quickly.

Pertussis can bring on one heck of a severe cough that can stay with you for weeks if not months. Sometimes patients can cough so badly it literally makes them sick. Others have injured ribs from the persistent hacking. Anyone can catch whooping cough, especially children, and anyone with a weakened immune system is more susceptible to it as well. Sometimes early stages of the illness can be mistaken for a common cold, but within two weeks it becomes an extreme cough.

Health officials recommend making sure your child is vaccinated against pertussis before going back to school, and in this case especially in the Waco-McLennan County area. Remember the pertussis vaccination is a series of shots so you'll need more than one appointment to beat it if you are not already vaccinated against it.

With an increase in pertussis happening in so many areas of Texas, this is something to keep an eye on.