BRITONS have been warned that the '100-day-cough' is spreading at an alarming rate across the UK.
The cough, otherwise known as whooping cough, can last for several weeks and experts are warning not to mistake it for a common cold.
Britons have been urged to 'wear masks' to stop the spread during the festive season.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis can be easily mistaken for a cold, according to the NHS. It starts with a runny nose and sore throat - later turning into a 'whoop' cough.
Parents have been told to get their children vaccincated
Severe cough bouts which can last three or four minutes can even lead to vomiting and broken ribs.
Leading virologist Prof Richard Tedder, from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), gave the advice after new figures revealed whooping cough has seen a 250 per cent increase in cases compared to last year.
UK's Health and Security Agency has warned that the rise in cases is expected due to the season but it was critical for parents to protect their children and get them vaccinated to stop further spread.
Pregnant women should also get the vaccination.
As many as 716 people have been infected in England and Wales between July and November. This is almost triple the cases compared to same period for 2022.
Prof Richard warned: "People should ensure they are vaccinated and consider using masks to help prevent the spread [of whooping cough].
Prof Helen Bedford, an expert in child public health at University College London, added: "Whooping cough in young babies can be very serious and vaccinating their mothers in pregnancy is the only way of ensuring they are protected in the first few months.
"Typically, whooping cough presents as bouts of cough which may be followed by a ‘whoop’ sound or vomiting."