PARENTS being warned following a whooping cough outbreak in Sydney’s inner west.
On Thursday parents at Croydon Public School received an email stating one of the students had contracted the disease.
Parents were urged to look out for signs of the disease on their own children, reports Daily Telegraph.
Earlier this year there was a state wide outbreak of whooping cough, with more than 100 cases reported in the inner west in less than three months.
There has been an increase of the disease in the area of late, with more than 163 cases reported in the Sydney Local Health District since September.
Dr Leena Gupta, Director Public Health, Sydney Local Health District urged parents to remain vigilant with children under six months most at risk.
“In babies, the infection can sometimes lead to pneumonia and in worst cases can be life threatening,” she said.
“Whooping cough is spread when an infectious person coughs bacteria into the air which can be inhaled by people nearby.
“Whooping cough spreads easily through families, childcare centres and at school.
“If they are not treated early, people with whooping cough are infectious in the first three weeks of their illness.” Dr Gupta said.
Symptoms such as a runny nose, a slight fever and a uncontrollable cough should not be ignored.
What are the symptoms? via NSW Health
•Whooping cough usually begins like a cold with a blocked or runny nose, tiredness, mild fever and a cough.
•The cough gets worse and severe bouts of uncontrollable coughing can develop. Coughing bouts can be followed by vomiting, choking or taking a big gasping breath which causes a “whooping” sound. The cough can last for many weeks and can be worse at night.
•Some newborns may not cough at all but they can stop breathing and turn blue. Some babies have difficulties feeding and can choke or gag.
•Older children and adults may just have a cough that lasts for many weeks. They may not have the whoop.
Whooping cough vaccines provide good protection from infection but immunity fades which means that boosters are needed.
Immunisation for babies
•Babies need to be immunised at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 18 months. The first dose can be given as early as 6 weeks of age.
•Getting your baby vaccinated on time gives them some protection when they are most at risk of severe illness.
•If your baby’s vaccines are overdue, see your GP now to catch up.
Immunisation for older children
•A whooping cough booster is needed at 4 years of age.
•Check if your child has been vaccinated. Look at their Blue Book, speak to your GP or ring the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809.
•A second whooping cough booster is given in high school through the NSW School-based Vaccination Program.
Immunisation for adults
A booster for adults is recommended for:
•Women who are in the third trimester of pregnancy, preferably at 28 weeks gestation. Free vaccine is provided in NSW through GPs and hospital antenatal clinics.
•Other adult household members, grandparents and carers of infants under 12 months of age.
•Adults working with young children, especially health care and child care workers.
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