Is the ‘100-Day Cough’ Hitting the US Experts Share Safety Tips for the Holiday Season


Because of the “100-day cough,” which is becoming more common, health experts in the UK are telling people to avoid shaking hands with friends and family and instead bump elbows.

As the number of respiratory illnesses like whooping cough (also called pertussis) rises around the world, this idea comes up. Whooping cough is a serious, long-lasting illness with a cough that can break a person’s ribs.

The UK’s Independent cited the UK Health Security Agency as saying that there were 716 cases of pertussis recorded between July and November. This is three times more than the same time in 2022.

Even though there haven’t been more cases of whooping cough in the US lately, Dr. Bruce Hirsch says it’s still a good idea to be clean and avoid touching other people as much as possible during the winter. This is especially true now that COVID-19 cases have increased by almost 30%.

The holidays are a great time to get sick,” Hirsch told The Post. Hirsch is an infectious disease doctor at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York.

Hirsch said, “I would stay away from someone whose cousin is coughing his head off at the dinner table.”

“It’s better to touch elbows than shake hands,” he said, adding that extra care should be taken “if there’s someone who is weak, elderly, or on medicine that lowers their immune system.”

Hirsch says that “pertussis is one of the more dangerous diseases that can kill a newborn,” but that “it’s a miserable infection at any age.”

Professor Richard Tedder, who used to be head of the Department of Virology at the University College London, told The US Sun that the number of people getting whooping cough and other respiratory illnesses is expected to rise even more as people get together with friends and family for the holidays.

Tedder said, “People should get vaccinated and think about wearing masks to help stop the spread of whooping cough.

“They could also follow the rule that says ‘don’t hug or kiss’ and greet people with their elbows instead,” Tedder said.

Hirsch said, “Right now in our area, there’s been a rise in flu cases, and I’ve been seeing a lot of COVID and a significant amount of RSV in my practice.” Other respiratory illnesses are also likely to spread during the holiday season.

Hirsch also says that “hand contact is surprisingly good at transmitting infections, including respiratory infections,” even though these viruses are carried by the air. Every day, we touch our eyes, nose, mouth, and face. Part of the reason these diseases and pathogens work so well is because of this.

There is a vaccine for pertussis that works, but doctors say that it “doesn’t last forever and tends to wane years after it was given.”

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