Why Should I Get The Whooping Cough Vaccine?
Also known as pertussis, whooping cough is a highly contagious illness that can be life-threatening, especially in young babies under six months old.
Whooping cough can last up to three months and causes long nasty bouts of coughing and choking, making it difficult to breathe or catch your breath. It is quite common for babies and children to vomit or turn blue from whooping cough.
However, not all children get the 'whoop' sounding cough.
Some complications of whooping cough include pneumonia and in extreme cases, brain damage.
How common is whooping cough?
In Ireland, there were 117 reported cases of whooping cough in 2015. Most of those cases were in babies less than six months old who were too young to be vaccinated. In 2012, two babies died as a result of contracting whooping cough.
How can I prevent whooping cough?
The whooping cough vaccine is offered to every child as part of the immunisation vaccination program run by the HSE. The vaccine is given to babies as part of their 6 in 1 vaccination at two, four and six months of age. Then again in primary school children get a 4 in 1 booster at around 4 or 5 years old. The Tdap vaccine is then usually administered in secondary school.
When is the best time to get the whooping cough vaccination?
It is recommended that you get vaccinated between week 16 and 36 of your pregnancy. It is also advised women should get the whooping cough vaccine with each pregnancy.
What exactly is the whooping cough vaccine?
The whooping cough vaccine is the Tdap vaccine made up of a low dose of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. It is completely safe to have alongside the flu vaccination which is also highly advised during pregnancy. The two vaccines are usually given in different arms.
How will the vaccine protect my baby?
The vaccine helps the body to produce high levels of antibodies to any whooping cough bacteria. These antibodies are passed to your baby in the womb helping to protect your child in the first months of life. Breastfeeding also helps protect them as you pass antibodies to your baby through your milk.
Kellie Kearney is a Dublin mammy of kids aged 2, 3, 4 and 8. A self-confessed procrastinator and picker-upper of things, Kellie loves a good coffee, doughnuts, travel and sharing every day true to life moments on Instagram of her expanding family. Follow her on Instagram.