Warning issued over 100-Day Cough

100 day cough
Image taken by Annie Spratt

Warning Issued Over Highly Contagious 100-Day Cough Spreading Across UK

A warning has been issued about a 100-day cough that is sweeping the UK. Learn more about what is the 100-day cough and what you should do if you think you have the 100-day cough.

Health experts have issued a warning about a rapidly spreading and highly contagious disease known as the “100-day cough” in the UK.

This bacterial infection, also known as pertussis or whooping cough, has seen a significant increase of 250% in reported cases.

While it starts with cold-like symptoms, it can progress to severe coughing fits lasting up to three months. In this article, we will provide an in-depth analysis of this concerning health issue, including its symptoms, transmission, prevention, and the importance of vaccination.


What is the 100-Day Cough?

The 100-day cough, or whooping cough, is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs and throat.

It is highly contagious and can spread easily through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease gets its nickname from the prolonged duration of its symptoms, which can last up to 100 days if left untreated.


Symptoms and Progression of 100-Day Cough

The initial symptoms of the 100-day cough are similar to those of a common cold, including a blocked nose and a mild cough.

However, after about a week, the infected individual may experience severe coughing fits that last for a few minutes.

These fits are often worse at night and may be accompanied by a distinctive “whooping” sound or a gasp for breath between coughs. It is important to note that not everyone infected with whooping cough will exhibit the “whoop” sound, especially young babies and some adults.

As the disease progresses, the coughing fits can become more intense and frequent, leading to complications.

After a severe coughing fit, the patient may find it difficult to breathe and may even turn blue or grey, particularly in young infants. Thick mucus may be brought up, causing vomiting. In some cases, the intensity of the coughing can result in rib fractures and extreme fatigue.


Alarming Increase in Cases of 100-Day Cough

The recent surge in reported cases of the 100-day cough is a cause for concern. Over the past five months, health authorities have received reports of 716 cases, a staggering 250% increase compared to the previous year.

This upward trend highlights the need for increased awareness and preventive measures to curb the spread of the disease.


Importance of Vaccination

Vaccination against the 100-day cough is crucial, particularly for babies and children. The National Health Service (NHS) emphasizes the significance of vaccinating pregnant women to protect their babies.

When pregnant women receive the vaccine, their newborns are safeguarded during the vulnerable early months. Prof Helen Bedford, an expert in child public health at University College London, stresses the importance of vaccination, stating that whooping cough in young babies can be extremely serious.


Transmission and Contagion

The highly contagious nature of the 100-day cough makes it important to understand how the disease spreads.

The bacteria responsible for whooping cough, Bordetella pertussis, can easily pass from person to person through respiratory droplets. Coughing, sneezing, or even talking can release these droplets into the air, where they can be inhaled by others.

The bacteria can also survive on surfaces for a short period of time, making it possible to contract the infection by touching contaminated objects and then touching the face.


Diagnosing the 100-Day Cough

If you suspect that you or your child may have the 100-day cough, it is important to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis.

Healthcare professionals may conduct a physical examination and order a laboratory test, such as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, to confirm the presence of the bacteria. Early diagnosis is crucial for appropriate treatment and to prevent the further spread of the disease.


Treatment and Management of 100-day Cough

While there is no cure for the 100-day cough, early intervention and appropriate management can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.

Antibiotics may be prescribed to shorten the duration of the illness and prevent the spread of the infection to others. It is important to complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed by a healthcare professional.


Preventive Measures

Prevention is key when it comes to the 100-day cough, especially since the disease can have serious consequences, particularly for infants and young children.

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against whooping cough. The NHS recommends that pregnant women receive the whooping cough vaccine during their third trimester to provide passive immunity to their newborns.

In addition to vaccination, practicing good hygiene can help prevent the spread of the bacteria. This includes regularly washing hands with soap and water, using hand sanitizers when soap is not available, and covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or the elbow when coughing or sneezing.

It is also important to avoid close contact with individuals who are displaying symptoms of respiratory illnesses.