Whooping cough on the rise

NEW South Wales Health has issued a warning to all parents to be on alert for whooping cough following an increase in the number of school-aged children diagnosed.

Whooping cough is a serious respiratory infection that causes a long coughing illness, and can be life-threatening for babies.

Older children can bring home whooping cough from school or childcare and the infection can then be passed on to babies in the home.

Acting Director Health Protection Dr Jeremy McAnulty said parents can protect newborns by making sure their baby’s vaccines are up-to-date and watching out for coughs in their older children.

“Babies are given whooping cough vaccines at two, four and six months of age, with the first dose given from six weeks,” Dr McAnulty said.

“It’s also important to be on time with each vaccine in order to get the best protection.

“Whooping cough is highly infectious in the first three weeks and can spread easily through families, childcare centres and schools.

“General practitioners can test for whooping cough and treat early infections.”

Anyone who is infectious with whooping cough should avoid contact with babies and stay at home from work, school or childcare until they are no longer at risk of passing the infection on.

For a limited time, a free adult booster is available for new parents and other adults who care for babies up to 12 months of age.

New parents can get their booster from their general practitioner.



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