Cases of a highly contagious ‘100 day cough’ are reportedly rising and there are some symptoms you should look out for.
Whooping cough – or pertussis – is a bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes that can spread very quickly, as per the NHS.
It’s known as the ‘100 day cough’ as it can lead to coughing fits for up to three months.
While it is more severe among babies under six months old – as it can lead to seizures – it can still be dangerous for adults and can be a factor towards hernias.
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So if you want to avoid catching the infection, these are the symptoms to look out for:
The NHS explains that the first symptoms of the 100-day cough are similar to any fever, such as a runny nose and a sore throat.
But after about a week, you (or your child) might start to experience coughing fits that last for a few minutes, are worse at night and may make a ‘whoop’ sound, as well as as gasps for breath between coughs.
Following this, the person may struggle to breathe and could turn blue or grey (especially young infants) – then they may bring up thick mucus and start vomiting.
The cough may be so hard that it causes vomiting, rib fractures, and fatigue – and in 2015, pertussis was the cause of 58,700 deaths across the world, as per the National Library of Medicine.
The NHS adds that the person’s face may become very red (more common in adults) and suggests that if the cough is getting worse, or if you’ve been in contact with someone with whooping cough and you’re pregnant, you should seek an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111.
Other factors that should prompt you to see a doctor include not drinking enough fluids and struggling to breathe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says: “Recovery from whooping cough can be slow. The cough becomes milder and less common as you get better.
“Coughing fits may stop for a while but can return if you get other respiratory infections. Coughing fits can return many months after the whooping cough illness started.”
Prof Helen Bedford, an expert in child public health at University College London, adds (via Mirror): “As expected, we are now seeing cases of whooping cough increase again, so it’s vital pregnant women ensure they get vaccinated to protect their baby.
“Whooping cough in young babies can be very serious and vaccinating their mothers in pregnancy is the only way of ensuring they are protected in the first few months.”