Whooping cough is still around partly because the immunisation only gives eighty to ninety per cent protection but mainly because there is a rise in the number of parents who choose not to immunise their babies.

If your baby has been immunised and does get whooping cough, the period of illness is much milder and easier to manage.

Whooping cough starts as a short, dry cough with a fever developing a short time later. After a few days the whoop develops and vomiting occurs. Small babies tend not to whoop but have difficulty breathing and blue attacks. They are at great risk and need hospital care so they can have round-the-clock attention.

Even a mild case of whooping cough lasts for six weeks.