Whooping Cough – How To Tell If You or Your Baby Has It and How to Prevent It

Many parents fear their children getting whooping cough, and for a good reason. But, what exactly is whooping cough, how do you tell if you or your baby has it, and what can you do to protect them? We’ve got all the answers to your questions below.

What is whooping cough?

Whooping cough is a serious respiratory infection, which causes a long lasting coughing illness. Anyone can get and spread whooping cough, however, it can be extremely serious in babies. Whooping cough in newborns can potentially cause pneumonia, brain damage, frequent vomiting, heart failure, low blood pressure, feeding problems, apnoea and loss of life. While adults with whooping cough may only have a mild cough, they can still easily spread the deadly illness to babies.

Symptoms of whooping cough:

The beginning symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Mild fever
  • Cough

The cough then gets worse leading to uncontrollable coughing which can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Choking
  • Gasping breaths that cause a whooping sound

Whooping cough symptoms for Babies:

  • Some newborns might not have a cough but instead, stop breathing and turn blue
  • They may have difficulties feeding or choke and gag

Despite the other symptoms, some older children and adults may just get a mild cough that doesn’t go away and usually lasts about 5-7 weeks.

How to protect your baby:

  • Getting vaccinated in your third trimester of pregnancy can give your baby short protection against whooping cough.
  • Speak to your doctor and immunise your baby on the correct times so that they are protected against whooping cough as soon as possible.
  • Be cautious even if your baby is vaccinated. Whooping cough vaccine is effective but doesn’t protect all babies.
  • Keep anyone who has a cough away from your baby.
  • Adults can also get a whooping cough booster vaccine to help protect themselves and others.

Remembering when to get a vaccine or what ones you have had in the past can be difficult, especially for parents. You can use Wanngi’s immunisation feature to store all your past and future vaccines for you and your child, as well as set reminders. Learn more here.

Make sure to speak to your doctor about when and what vaccines you and your child should be getting.

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