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What is whooping cough?
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is an infection of the respiratory tract. Caused by bacteria, it is extremely contagious and results in uncontrollable coughing and vomiting, which can last for several months. There have been several cases of whooping cough in the Port Stephens region in recent years.
Whooping cough starts off as a common cold in adults before progressing into nasty coughing fits, which can leave patients gasping for breath and unable to eat or sleep. Sometimes it results in hospitalisation and cracked ribs.
How does it spread?
Coughing and sneezing cause tiny liquid droplets to spread the infection through the air. It is very easy for an infected person to spread the disease to those around them.
Who needs protection against whooping cough?
Whooping cough can be caught and spread by people of any age. It is extremely dangerous for babies aged 12 months and under, as one in 200 infected infants under the age of six months will die from the condition. Symptoms of whooping cough are very unpleasant for children and adults alike, so it’s vital your family is up to date with their vaccinations, particularly if they are likely to come into contact with babies or elderly people.
Vaccination is clinically proven as the safest and most effective way to prevent the spread of whooping cough. Making sure you are up to date with whooping cough vaccination ensures the wellbeing of infants you come into contact with, and can prevent potentially devastating consequences.
When should I get my family vaccinated?
Pregnant women should get the vaccine in their third trimester, so mother and baby will both have protection during pregnancy. Antibodies are passed on to the unborn baby, and they last until six weeks of age.
Infants require further doses of the vaccine at two, four and six months of age. Children will need booster shots at 18 months, four years and then again at 10-15 years.
Adults who are unsure if they need to be vaccinated should get in touch with their doctor to find out more.
How much does the whooping cough vaccination cost?
For children, the whooping cough vaccination is free under the National Immunisation Program Schedule. Pregnant women can also access the vaccine free of charge.
Book an appointment today to discuss a vaccination plan for your family.