Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. Whooping cough is caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. It is a bacterial infection that gets into your nose and throat causing severe cough. In many people, it’s marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like “whoop” and it is from this sound that its name was coined from.
It spreads very easily, but vaccines like“DTaP” and “Tdap” can help prevent it in both children and adults. Before the discovery of the vaccine, whooping cough was considered a disease for children. But now, whooping cough primarily affects children too young to have even completed the full course of vaccinations and teenagers and adults whose immunity has decreased.
Whooping cough is now widespread and affecting mostly the children. It is much safer to combat it now before it becomes a very big issue in your house.
If you are yet to get vaccinated, it’s not too late. Vaccination is more important for the children in the family as well as the community at large. It has to be totally eradicated because this disease is highly contagious. Even if you get vaccinated, that does not guarantee you will not get the disease if you associate with an already infected person. This is because it’s highly infectious. That is why it should not be allowed in the community, get everyone vaccinated especially the young ones.
If your child has been vaccinated prior to this time, please ensure that you re-vaccinate again because protection from the childhood vaccine decreases over time. Preteens, teens, and adults need to be re-vaccinated, even if they were completely vaccinated as children.
In a statement from the Centre for Disease Control and Protection CDC “As of early October 18,2012, more than 32,000 cases have been reported across the US, including 16deaths. The majority of deaths continue to occur among infants younger than 3months of age”.
As a respiratory tract infection, whooping cough affects breathing seriously. If your child is having difficulty breathing, quickly take him/her to the hospital for immediate intervention. Whooping cough starts just like a common cold with sneezing, nasal congestion and running nose but after one or two weeks, it gets stronger and severe coughing will begin.
Early Symptoms of Whooping cough includes:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Red, watery eyes
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Late Symptoms of Whooping cough includes:
- Provoke vomiting
- Result in a red or blue face
- Cause extreme fatigue
- End with a high-pitched “whoop” sound during the next breath of air.
Dangerous Symptoms of whooping cough includes:
- Turn red or blue
- Seem to be struggling to breathe or have noticeable pauses in breathing
- Inhale with a whooping sound.
Rush your child to the hospital if you notice of the symptoms above!
Whooping cough is a serious illness in little children, teenagers and adults as well. Whooping cough usually gets spread when an infected person sneeze or a cough, the closest person gets contacted by breathing in Pertussis bacteria (Bordetella pertussis) unknowingly. In fact, those that are infected most times don’t know they are infected and they pass it to people around them unintentionally and that is how it gets spreading around.
Serious Complications of whooping cough includes:
- Slowed or stopped breathing
- Dehydration or weight loss due to feeding difficulties
- Brain damage
- Bruised or cracked ribs
- Abdominal hernias
- Broken blood vessels in the skin or the whites of your eyes.
Because infants and toddlers are at greatest risk of complications from whooping cough, they’re more likely to need treatment in a hospital. Complications can be life-threatening for infants younger than 6 months old. Teens and adults often recover from whooping cough with no problems. When complications occur, they tend to be side effects of the strenuous coughing.
The best way to prevent whooping cough is with the pertussis vaccine!!!
Treatment Of Whooping Cough
Infants are typically hospitalized for treatment because Pertussis is more dangerous for that age group. Treatment for older children and adults usually can be managed at home. Antibiotics kill the bacteria causing whooping cough and help speed up recovery. Exposed family members may be given preventive antibiotics. Unfortunately, not much is available to relieve the cough. Over-the-counter cough medicines, for instance, have little effect on whooping cough and are discouraged.
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Pertussis needs to be prevented, and the best way to do that is by vaccination. Parents can also help protect infants by keeping them away as much as possible from anyone who has cold symptoms or is coughing.
Go now and get your child/family/community vaccinated before pertussis comes near your house.