Information for Aboriginal families
The good thing about our mob is the closeness of family and community and get-togethers but the down side is that it means sickness like whooping cough can spread quickly.
The best ways to protect babies is to prevent the people around them from getting whooping cough and to give babies some immunity by getting vaccinated in the thrid trimester of each pregnancy and once baby is born, getting them vaccinated on time.
Watch out for new coughs
- Someone with a new cough could have whooping cough. Whooping cough starts like a cold but turns into a bad cough that won't go away and can be worse at night. Even adults can get whooping cough and pass it on.
- Babies can get really sick. They can stop feeding properly and can even stop breathing if they catch whooping cough.
- Watch out for new coughs in family members, especially if there is a baby in the house. Anyone with a new cough should stay away from babies in case they pass it on.
- Anyone with a new cough should get checked out by a doctor or at your Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) as soon as possible.
- Your doctor can do a test for whooping cough and can give you medicine (antibiotics) to reduce the spread of whooping cough to other people. Your doctor can also give you more information about whooping cough.
Why is it important to get babies vaccinated on time?
- Newborn babies are most at risk of getting really sick because they are so little. Please see immunisation or speak to your doctor or AMS.
- Get babies immunised on time to protect them against whooping cough and get vaccinated in the third trimester of each pregnancy to give your baby some short term protection until they are old enough to get their own vaccinations at six weeks.
How do we prevent other people from getting whooping cough?
- Preventing whooping cough in people who are around babies the most means that babies are less likely to get sick from whooping cough.
- Older children get whooping cough booster vaccines (see immunisation) either from the doctor or AMS or through school based programs.