NHS urge vulnerable to get vaccinated

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NHS Tayside has issued a reminder to Angus folk of the importance of immunising youngsters and pregnant women against whooping cough.

The immunisation reminder has been issued by NHS Tayside Public Health Directorate following a rise of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, in Perth and Kinross in recent months.

Healthcare workers have seen an increase in the number of suspected and confirmed cases of whooping cough within the Perth and Kinross area in recent months. There have been 55 notifications of whooping cough in the last five months, with many concentrated in North Perthshire. This compares to 39 cases in Perth & Kinross during the same period last year.

Whooping cough typically causes illness with cold-like symptoms progressing to bouts of prolonged coughing. The illness usually fully resolves itself within weeks to months but occasionally can be more serious, particularly in young infants. Whooping cough is caused by a bacterial infection and is passed on readily between people through coughing and sneezing.

Routine vaccinations at two, three and four months of age and the pre-school booster help provide protection against whooping cough, and it is recommended that all parents take up the offer to have their children vaccinated at their GP practice.

To protect babies before they’re old enough for their first jabs, vaccination against whooping cough is also offered to expectant mothers during pregnancy. This provides protection to the baby from birth through the mother’s immune response to the vaccine. Women are encouraged to ask their midwife or GP for more information about getting the injection.

If you think you or your child may have whooping cough, seek medical advice by contacting your GP or through NHS24 on 111. You and your family may require treatment to clear the infection and help prevent it spreading within the household and community.

Children suspected of having whooping cough should be kept off nursery/school and healthcare workers and people who work with pregnant women or infants should stay off work until their infection is fully treated. Anyone with the illness should limit their contact with young infants as much as possible to help protect them from the infection.

More information about whooping cough is available on the NHS Inform website: http://www.nhsinform.co.uk/health-library/articles/w/whooping-cough/introduction/

Information about the whooping cough vaccine and advice for pregnant women is available at http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/whooping-cough.aspx