Pertussis, more commonly known as Whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease which can be very serious, especially for young children. It is a respiratory infection characterized by repeated coughing fits, difficulty in breathing and the associated ‘whoop’ noise when gasping for breath.
Pertussis can be a serious disease and at times have deadly complications in babies and young infants.The coughing fits can last for several weeks or months. Infants and young children can be distressed and may turn blue due to difficulty in breathing. In very young babies, cough may be very mild and but there may be brief episodes when they stop breathing. About half the infants under a year old who catch the disease may need care in the hospital.
Pertussis is spread through the air by infectious droplets from person to person. It is easily transmitted by people coughing or sneezing or being close to a person with the disease. Many newborns get pertussis from older brothers and sisters, parents, especially mothers, other family members, or caregivers who might not be aware they have the disease. Newborns and young infants under 2 months of age are at highest risk of serious complications.
To protect yourself and your newborn from pertussis, avoid close contact with infected persons, ensure good hand hygiene and covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Vaccination during pregnancy is another way to protect the newborns from pertussis.
Newborn babies do not have adequate natural immunity against whooping cough at birth or in the first few weeks of life, leaving them unprotected and highly vulnerable for complications from whooping cough. Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy helps to transfer protective antibodies from vaccinated mother to the newborn.
You may experience some side effects after pertussis vaccination like redness, swelling and pain where you get the injection and others like fever, fatigue and body-ache.
Talk to your doctor for more information on pertussis vaccination during pregnancy.
Disclaimer: A public awareness initiative by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India. For general awareness only. Nothing contained in this material constitutes medical advice. Please consult your medical practitioner for all medical queries.
NP-IN-PTX-PINS-190001, DOP: Sep’19
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