Whooping Cough Day – a first

8 November 2023

Today (8th November) marks the inaugural, annual Whooping Cough Day.

The initiative was created by the Immunisation Foundation of Australia and aimed at, and focused on, the condition and ways we can stay protected.

Whooping cough, which is often referred to as the ‘100 Day Cough’, is a highly infectious disease and can be fatal, especially for infants.

It’s caused by a bacterial infection which attacks our airways leading to uncontrollable and painful coughing and breathing difficulties.

It’s more infectious than influenza and a person can be contagious for up to three weeks or until they receive antibiotics.

When we talk about Whooping Cough, we often think of it as an infants’ disease, but it can strike anyone of any age with half of those who contract the disease being adults.

That was the case for Aussie policeman ‘Tim’ who was struck down with the disease even though he was in top physical condition.

“Whilst recovering from Whooping Cough I was bedridden and in so much physical pain every time I coughed and every time I breathed,” he said.

“I kept thinking about the sheer pain I was in as a fit and healthy man and couldn’t imagine how a little baby would cope with it.”

As part of the campaign, organisers will also launch the ‘Riley Hughes Memorial Award’.

Riley was just 32 days old when he passed away from Whooping Cough.

The award in his name will go to help fund research to help us better understand the disease.

Organisers say the best way we can stay protected from whooping cough is to be vaccinated and pharmacists all over Australia are able to administer the vaccine

To find out more about Whooping Cough or to donate, visit the Immunisation Foundation of Australia.

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Page last updated on: 15 November 2023