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Lincolnshire Pregnant Women Health Warning

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Pregnant Women Urged to Get Vaccinated as Cases of ‘Highly Contagious’ Bug Spike Across UK

Skegness news, A health warning has been issued to women who are pregnant. There has been a surge in cases of whooping cough in England and Wales. Whooping cough, with its medical name of pertussis, is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs and spreads rapidly.

 

More than 5,500 babies are born each year in Lincolnshire including Boston, Skegness, and Lincoln, and now the NHS is advising pregnant women to get vaccinated after a surge in Whooping cough.

The UK is currently experiencing a surge in cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, with a staggering 250% increase in suspected cases between July and November 2022 compared to the same period the previous year.

This highly contagious bacterial infection primarily affects the respiratory system, causing severe coughing fits that can last for several minutes and may be accompanied by a characteristic “whoop” sound as the infected individual gasps for air.

While whooping cough can affect people of all ages, it is particularly dangerous for babies and young children, often leading to serious complications. In light of this concerning trend, pregnant women are being strongly urged to get vaccinated to protect both themselves and their unborn babies.

 

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The surge in whooping cough cases is believed to be a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The widespread implementation of social distancing measures and lockdowns significantly reduced the spread of infectious diseases, including whooping cough.

However, these measures also inadvertently suppressed the population’s immunity levels, leaving individuals more susceptible to infections once restrictions were eased.

As a result, healthcare professionals are now witnessing the reemergence of whooping cough and are emphasizing the importance of vaccination, particularly for pregnant women.

 

The Importance of Vaccination

Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing whooping cough. The vaccine not only provides individuals with lifelong protection but also reduces the likelihood of transmitting the infection to vulnerable populations, such as infants.

Pregnant women who receive the whooping cough vaccine pass on protective antibodies to their unborn babies, offering them immunity during the critical early months of life when they are most susceptible to severe complications.

This passive immunity is further bolstered by vaccinating other close contacts, such as partners, grandparents, and caregivers, forming a protective barrier around the newborn.

 

Recognizing the Symptoms

It is essential to recognize the symptoms of whooping cough to seek timely medical attention and prevent further transmission of the infection.

The initial symptoms of whooping cough are often mild and resemble those of the common cold, including nasal congestion, a runny nose, red and watery eyes, and a mild cough.

However, after around seven to ten days, the coughing fits become more severe, particularly at night, and may be accompanied by the distinct “whoop” sound.

In infants, the classic whooping sound may not be present, but they may experience difficulties breathing, turning blue or gray, and vomiting after coughing bouts. Adults may also exhibit a red face during coughing episodes.

 

Seeking Medical Assistance

If you or your child exhibit symptoms of whooping cough, it is crucial to seek medical assistance promptly. Contact your general practitioner or call NHS 111 for urgent medical advice.

Immediate medical attention is particularly important if your baby is under six months old, you have been in contact with someone with whooping cough while pregnant, or you or your child have a severe cough that is worsening.

Additionally, individuals with weakened immune systems who have been in contact with someone with whooping cough should also seek medical advice.

 

Preventing the Spread of Whooping Cough

In addition to getting vaccinated, there are several other measures you can take to prevent the spread of whooping cough:

Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizers.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.

Dispose of used tissues immediately and wash your hands afterward.

Avoid close contact with individuals who have respiratory infections, including those with persistent coughs.

Stay home if you are unwell and avoid exposing others to potential infections.

 

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