Whooping cough cases on the rise: Symptoms, signs and remedies as almost 3000 cases reported

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Whooping cough infections have risen across the UK in the first quarter of 2024. 

Almost 3000 Brits have been affected by the 100 day cough since the start of 2024, and cases continue to spike. 

A total of 1,319 cases were confirmed in March, 918 in February and 556 in January, bringing the total number of cases in 2024 to 2,793.

Most whooping cough cases (50.8%) were among ages 15 and over who generally get a mild illness, and the highest rates were among babies under 3 months of age. Sadly, there were also five infant deaths during this period.

What is the 100 day cough? 

100 day cough is another term being used to describe whooping cough. 

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection, which is spread through coughs and sneezes.  The cough is caused by the ‘pertussis’ bacteria. 

An infected person will have repeated coughing that can last for three months or more, which is why it is being described as the 100 day cough.

It is a cyclical disease that peaks every 3 to 5 years and the last cyclical increase was in 2016. Cases fell to very low numbers during the pandemic due to restrictions and public behaviours and, therefore, a peak year was overdue until now.

Cough infections have risen across the UK in the first quarter of 2024. Cough infections have risen across the UK in the first quarter of 2024.
Cough infections have risen across the UK in the first quarter of 2024. | Pexels

What are the symptoms of the 100 day cough? 

The first symptoms of the 100 day cough are a similar to a common cold (e.g. runny nose and sore throat), with intense coughing bouts following around a week later.

Who can be affected by the 100 day cough? 

The 100 day cough can affect anyone. 

However, if babies are infected by the 100 day cough it can cause complications, therefore parents are urged to seek prompt advice from the GP.

How to treat the 100 day cough?

A doctor can prescribe antibiotics that can be used to treat the cough. 

There are also home remedies to try that can ease the cough, such as drinking hot water, honey and lemon. 

The best way to prevent the 100 day cough is to be fully vaccinated.

If a family member is diagnosed with whooping cough, it’s important they stay at home and do not go into work, school or nursery until 48 hours after starting antibiotics, or 3 weeks after symptoms start if they have not had antibiotics to prevent the spread of the infection.

For further information and advice on the 100 day cough, please visit the Gov.uk website.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.