Whooping Cough (Pertussis)
A highly contagious disease spread by droplets in the air when people cough or sneeze. This means that people are vulnerable to catching the disease on occasions when groups of people get together such as in schools and indoor social gatherings. It is important that we all do what we can to protect the most vulnerable to the worst outcomes of whooping cough. The best way to do this is to vaccinate against this awful disease. Act on any symptoms immediately, and if symptomatic, stay away from babies, young children and pregnant women.
Know the symptoms:
Whooping cough is most infectious in the first two weeks. The symptoms usually appear around a week after infection and start just like a common cold – runny nose, sneezing, slight fever and a mild irritating cough. After a week or two, coughing fits (paroxysms) are the main symptom.
A paroxysm is characterised by:
• a spasm of coughing which brings up thick phlegm
• a sharp intake of breath or ‘whoop’ sound after a cough (mainly in children, not babies or adults)
• vomiting after coughing, especially in infants and young children
• tiredness and redness in the face from the effort of coughing.
Prevent the spread:
If you suspect you or your children has whooping cough, call your GP or Healthline first Whooping cough is very contagious, so please call your GP or Healthline (0800 611 116) first before going into the waiting room.
In waiting rooms, help prevent spreading whooping cough to others by:
• using a face mask if you are coughing (ask reception for one if they are not available in the entranceway)
Getting immunised is the best thing you can do to keep yourself, your whānau and those who are vulnerable in our communities safe from serious, infectious diseases such as Whooping Cough.
The National Immunisation Schedule is the series of vaccines that are offered free to babies, children, adolescents and adults.