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Pertussis (Whooping Cough) 

Whooping cough

There is a lot of whooping cough around at the moment and babies who are too young to start their vaccinations are at greatest risk.

Expectant mothers can help protect their babies by getting themselves vaccinated against whooping cough from week 28 of their pregnancy.

You may have thought whooping cough had died out but it has been rising recently with over four times as many cases in England and Wales up to the end of August 2012 as there were up to the end of August 2011. Cases in young babies especially are rising quickly.

Whooping cough is a serious disease that can lead to pneumonia and permanent brain damage. Many babies with whooping cough will be admitted to hospital and they are at risk of dying from the disease. Deaths from whooping cough are rare in the UK but more babies have already died this year than in recent years.

Young babies are particularly at risk of serious disease and they remain vulnerable until they can be vaccinated against whooping cough from 2 months of age. You can help protect your unborn baby from getting whooping cough in its first weeks after birth by having the whooping cough vaccination while you are pregnant. You should have the vaccination even if you’ve been vaccinated before or have had whooping cough yourself.

The best time to get vaccinated to protect your baby is from week 28 to week 38 of your pregnancy – ideally between 28 and 32 weeks. Talk to your Midwife, Practice Nurse or GP and make an appointment to get vaccinated.

Your baby will still need to be vaccinated as normal when he or she reaches 2 months of age. 

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