What is Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough is a contagious disease
which affects the respiratory system
What causes Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough is caused by a bacteria
called Bordetella Pertussis
. The bacteria gets into the body
through the respiratory system and can be found in the mouth
of the infected
Who gets Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough can occur at any age
. It is most dangerous
and occurs most commonly in young children
, yet it can cause severe coughing
s that may last for many week
s to month
s. Whooping Cough is considered one of the most serious traditional childhood diseases
How is Whooping Cough spread?
Whooping Cough is spread by direct contact
s from the nose and throat of the victim
, by airborne
droplets from a cough
, or though contact with contaminated sheet
s or clothing
. Whooping Cough is extremely contagious
and people should avoid
contact with infected people.
What are the symptoms?
begins as a mild
upper respiratory infection
. During the early stages
, the symptom
s are exactly like those of a common cold
, including sneezing
, runny nose
and a mild cough. After two weeks, the disease
enters its second stage. The cough becomes more severe and there are often episodes of rapid
coughs followed by a high pitched whoop
. Adults will rarely have a whoop sound in their cough. However, adults typically repeat the coughing episode which may be followed by gagging
or becoming short of breath
. The last phase is a recovery
period of up to a month
during which the patient
regains strength. Some other symptoms include:
lack of oxygen
For how long is Whooping Cough contagious?
Whooping Cough can be spread from one person to another for three weeks after the onset of coughing. This can be reduced to only five days if the infected person is taking antibiotics.
Whooping Cough requires prompt medical treatment; delay can lead to serious complications, particularly in children. There is no vaccine for adults, yet thankfully there are two types of vaccines for Whooping Cough for children, both of which are given for tetanus and diphtheria. The booster shots should be given at the each of 15 months and again at 4-6 years.
An antibiotic called erythromycin can reduce the length and severity of the infection, especially if taken if the first ten days of illness. Codeine may be prescribed to relieve coughing. In severe cases, hospitalisation may be required to prevent dehydration and to permit quick administration of oxygen should the patient have difficulty breathing.
Your child has not been vaccinated against whooping cough and has recently been exposed to the illness.
You suspect your child has Whooping Cough, especially if the child has a cold and cough that has lasted a week or more.
Your child's lips turn blue and your child experiences periods of poor breathing, an indication of severe respiratory distress.
PreventionThe DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) vaccine is given in five doses between the ages of two months and six years. The vaccine has been shown to be 90% effective when a child receives all doses; however, it does not provide permanent immunity. Five years after the final dose, a previously immunised child is no longer protected against the virus. Reimmunisation is not recommended because the vaccine can trigger severe side effects in older children and adults.
Long term effects.
If untreated, Whooping Cough can cause lung damage, bronchial damage and even death.
Call your doctor if: