Been out and about recently and noticed a lot more coughing and spluttering than usual? Well, there’s a good reason for that. We don’t mean to alarm you but England is apparently seeing the biggest outbreak of the ‘100-day’ whooping cough in at least ten years. Over the last fortnight, cases of the cough have more than doubled in London alone.
So, what is the 100-day cough? How do you know if you’ve fallen victim – and, importantly, how do you get rid of it? We’ve got all the stuff you need to know.
What is the 100-day cough?
You might know the 100-day cough by its more common name, whooping cough. The official name for it is pertussis, which is a bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes caused by a (rather operatic-sounding) bacteria called Bordetella pertussis.
The name ‘100-day cough’ comes, as you might’ve guessed, from the fact that it can persist for weeks or even months.
What are the symptoms of whooping cough?
According to the NHS website, the first signs of a 100-day whooping cough are pretty similar to a cold – normally a runny nose and sore throat.
After a week, there are more developed symptoms. You might:
- have coughing bouts that last for a few minutes and get worse at night
- make a ‘whoop’ sound when you gasp for breath between coughs
- have difficulty breathing after a coughing fit
- bring up thick mucus
- become red in the face
Whooping cough can be particularly dangerous in children and especially babies under six months. It increases their chances of problems like dehydration, breathing difficulties, pneumonia and seizures.
To ease symptoms make sure you get loads of rest, drink lots of fluids and take some pain killers to relieve discomfort.
How contagious is whooping cough?
It spreads very easily through droplets from coughs or sneezes. Some people might have mild symptoms of the cough and not be aware that they’re spreading it.
How do you treat whooping cough?
It depends how old you are and how long you’ve had the infection. The NHS advises that you seek hospital treatment if the coughing is severe or your child is under six months old. Check the official NHS website here for more details.
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