Whooping Cough in Early Life

Pertussis—better known as whooping cough—is an extremely infectious bacterial infection of the lungs and airways. Whooping cough can affect people of any age, although young babies under six months old are at higher risk of complications after contracting the infection. As children get older, the condition tends to be less serious—but no less frustrating.

The primary symptoms of the infection appear as a normal cold or flu including a runny nose, watery eyes, a raised temperature and a sore throat. Usually a week after being infected, intense bouts of coughing begin.

Whooping cough is spread through the air among people in direct contact with an infected individual who breathes, coughs or sneezes. If you suspect that your child has whooping cough, keep them at home and away from others until a doctor confirms with a diagnosis.

During their illness, try to keep a hand sanitiser with you and dispose of all their used tissues immediately.

There are several vaccinations that protect against whooping cough. These include one administered during pregnancy, the 5-in-1 vaccine for babies between eight to16 weeks and the 4-in-1 vaccine offered to children by three years and four months. Children under six months with whooping cough may be admitted to hospital for treatment while older children will usually be able to recuperate at home with medication.