How to prevent Whooping Cough or Pertussis in New Borns

How to prevent Whooping Cough or Pertussis in New Borns

Pertussis, more commonly known as Whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease which can be very serious, especially for young children.1 It is a respiratory infection characterized by repeated coughing fits, difficulty in breathing and the associated ‘whoop’ noise when gasping for breath.

Pertussis can be a serious disease and at times have deadly complications in babies and young infants. The coughing fits can last for several weeks or months. Infants and young children can be distressed and may turn blue due to difficulty breathing. In very young babies, cough may be very mild and but there may be brief episodes when they pause breathing. About half the infants under a year old who catch the disease may need care in hospital.

Pertussis is spread, through the air by infectious droplets from person to person. It is easily transmitted by other people coughing or sneezing or being close to a person with the disease.

To protect yourself and your newborn from pertussis, avoid close contact with infected persons, ensure good hand hygiene and cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Newborns and young infants under 2 months of age are at highest risk of serious complications. Newborn babies have inadequate natural immunity against whooping cough at birth or in the first few weeks of life, leaving them unprotected and highly vulnerable for complications from whooping cough. Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy helps to transfer protective antibodies to the new born.

You may experience side effects after pertussis vaccination. Most common side effects include redness, swelling and pain where you get the injection and others like fever, fatigue and body-ache.9
Talk to your doctor for more information on pertussis vaccination during pregnancy.

1. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Questions and Answers [accessed June 2018]; Available at:
2. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Pertussis (Whooping Cough). Causes and Transmission [accessed June 2018]; Available at:
3. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Pertussis (Whooping Cough). Complications. [accessed June 2018]; Available at:
4. NHS. UK. Whooping cough. [accessed June 2018]; Available at:
5. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Pertussis (Whooping Cough). Prevention. [accessed July 2019]. Available at
6. ACOG Committee Opinion. Update on Immunization and Pregnancy: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccination. Number 718, September 2017. [accessed: June 2018]; Available at:
7. CDC. Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children and Adolescents Aged 18 Years or Younger, United States, 2018. [accessed June 2018]; Available at:
8. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Pertussis (Whooping Cough). Pregnancy and Whooping Cough. [accessed July 2019]. Available at

NP-IN-PTX-PSP-200020, DOP May 2020

Disclaimer: A public awareness initiative by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited.

Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India. Information appearing in this material is for general awareness only. Nothing contained in this material constitutes medical advice. Please consult your medical practitioner for all medical queries


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