TerryWhite Chemmart and Immunisation Foundation of Australia Join Forces to Promote Inaugural Whooping Cough Day

TerryWhite Chemmart is proud to announce its partnership with the Immunisation Foundation of Australia in support of the inaugural Whooping Cough Day, set to take place on November 8. This collaborative effort is designed to emphasise the critical importance of staying up to date with vaccinations, particularly the whooping cough vaccination.

Over the years, the concerted efforts of awareness campaigns and dedicated advocates, including Catherine Hughes, Director of the Immunisation Foundation of Australia and Light 4 Riley, have contributed to a noteworthy increase in Australia’s adoption of the whooping cough vaccination. This has resulted in a decline in reported cases, demonstrating the power of community action. However, as the holiday season approaches, bringing gatherings of family and friends, the importance of vaccination cannot be overstated.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is not exclusive to children and infants; individuals of all ages can contract this highly contagious bacterial infection. Those living with lung conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are particularly vulnerable.

According to recent data, adults with asthma face a fourfold higher risk[i] [ii] [iii] of contracting whooping cough, while individuals with COPD have a 3.5 times higher risk[iv] [v] [vi] compared to those without these conditions.

Despite a reduction in reported cases, the potential resurgence of this preventable disease remains a concern, particularly as travel returns to pre-pandemic levels. It is important to highlight that vaccination, including timely boosters recommended every 10 years, remains the most effective means of prevention.

Whooping cough presents in two stages. The initial symptoms, which can persist for 1-2 weeks, mimic those of a common cold. However, the second stage is marked by severe coughing fits (paroxysms), which are typically more pronounced at night and can last for 2-10 weeks. Infants, in particular, are at risk of severe complications, including brain damage, seizures, pneumonia, and even fatality. Older children and adults may experience pneumonia, sleep disturbances, urinary disruptions, and even broken ribs[vii].

The reason patients with asthma and COPD can experience pertussis more severely is due to B. pertussis releasing toxins that damage the epithelium. This causes inflammation, inability to clear mucus and damage to the epithelial lining. [viii]

[iv] Vulnerable patients can already have a compromised epithelial lining due to their pre-existing asthma or COPD[x] [xi] so the additional damage exacerbates their issue.

As the signs and symptoms of whooping cough can closely mimic those of asthma and COPD, it is important for individuals who have been diagnosed with either condition to consult with their GP if they have any questions or concerns.

Catherine Hughes, Founder of the Immunisation Foundation and Light 4 Riley, emphasised the importance of this partnership, stating, “Our mission is to protect and educate. We’ve made substantial progress, but we’re not done yet. The support of TerryWhite Chemmart in promoting Whooping Cough Day will help us reach more Australians and reinforce the significance of vaccination.”

As TerryWhite Chemmart Chief Pharmacist Brenton Hart points out, “It’s important to understand how highly infectious pertussis is and we often see many patients who are well overdue for their booster vaccination. Being up to date with your whooping cough (pertussis) vaccination is an effective way to prevent infection and its potential complications, and older children and adults who are not vaccinated are often the source of infection in infants.”

TerryWhite Chemmart and the Immunisation Foundation of Australia urge all Australians to take action and ensure they are safeguarded against whooping cough. By getting vaccinated and staying up to date with boosters, we can collectively protect our communities and loved ones.

For more information about Whooping Cough and the importance of vaccination, please visit https://terrywhitechemmart.com.au/health-services/whooping-cough

[i] Buck PO et al. Epidemiol Infect 2017; 145: 2109–2121.

[ii] Based on a retrospective administrative claims analysis.

[iii] Liu BC et al. Clin Infect Dis 2012; 55: 1450–1456.

[iv] Blasi F et al. Hum Vaccin Immunother 2020; 169: 340–348.

[v] Based on a retrospective administrative claims analysis.

[vi] Buck PO et al. Epidemiol Infect 2017; 145: 2109–2121.

[vii] Kilgore PE et al. Clin Microbiol Rev 2016; 29: 449–486.

[viii] Blasi F et al. Hum Vaccin Immunother 2020; 169: 340–348.

[ix] Harju TH et al. Thorax 2006; 61: 579–584.

[x] Buck PO et al. Epidemiol Infect 2017; 145: 2109–2121.

[xi] Capili CR et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2012; 129: 957–963.

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