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Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a serious illness that can impact individuals of all ages, but can be particularly dangerous – or even fatal – for infants who incur the disease. Even those whose lives are not threatened by pertussis can find themselves in a great deal of pain and misery, with a hacking, wheezing cough that sometimes impedes breathing and usually lasts for a very long time. 

The good news is that this highly contagious disease is also highly preventable! Studies have shown that epidemics of whooping cough tend to come around every three to five years, and the best way to prevent it is through vaccines, whether first time doses or boosters. Pertussis Awareness Day is here to shine a light on this disease and the critical steps toward prevention.

History of Pertussis Awareness Day

Pertussis Awareness Day, celebrated on November 8, was founded by initiatives of the Immunisation Foundation of Australia. Otherwise known as Whooping Cough Day, the event was first established in 2023 to improve public awareness and increase education about this pervasive and highly contagious illness.

How to Celebrate Pertussis Awareness Day

Check out some of these ideas for ways to get involved with this important health event, Pertussis Awareness Day:

Learn Facts About Pertussis 

A vital part of Whooping Cough Day, or Pertussis Awareness Day, is to improve information that will lead more people to be educated about their own health and the health of their communities. Consider learning, discussing and sharing some of these important facts (according to the CDC) related to this disease:

  • About 33% of children under the age of 1 who get whooping cough may need to be hospitalized, while people with asthma are four times as likely to be hospitalized with pertussis

  • The presence of severe coughing fits from pertussis can last for several weeks or even months

  • Parents of babies should know that babies with pertussis may not cough at all, but may struggle to breathe instead

  • Vaccine is the best protection against whooping cough for individuals, families and the entire community – not only first rounds but also boosters

Get Vaccinated Against Whooping Cough

Depending on the place a person lives or the age of the person, the exact vaccines for whooping cough may be slightly different. Most pediatricians will recommend the pertussis vaccine that goes along with a normal vaccine regimen in children.

In the US, children younger than 7 can receive the DTaP vaccine, while older children, teens and adults are eligible for the Tdap. Pregnant women are also recommended to get the Tdap in the third trimester of every pregnancy to help protect their baby while starting out in the world. Check out more information on the CDC website.  

Share Pertussis Awareness with Others

One of the best ways to get involved with Pertussis Awareness Day is to make sure everyone in your sphere of influence is in-the-know! Individuals might be interested in sharing information about the disease and the day through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, X, Snapchat and others.

Schools, medical professionals and other organizations, especially those in Australia, can get the word out with free posters, flyers and fact sheets provided on the website for the Immunisation Foundation of Australia

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