Whooping cough also known as pertussis and it is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Before the vaccine was introduced, the cough was considered a childhood disease. Whooping cough is a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like “whoop”.
There are three stages of whooping cough namely catarrhal, paroxysmal, and convalescent. The stage of catarrhal symptom is mild and disappear quickly. The stage of paroxysmal is characterized by episodes of coughing with a distinctive “whooping” sound when breathing. Whooping cough affects mostly babies and young kids and it is a very serious disease. It can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and even death. Most babies younger than one year old who is having whooping cough may be hospitalized or even die. For babies under 6 months old, whooping cough is life-threatening and they are likely to be admitted to the hospital to be watched closely.
Whooping cough begins like a cold and then the characteristic cough develops. It lasts up to three months even after antibiotic treatment is completed and the person no longer infectious. The symptoms of this cough are common cold, including nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, red and watery eyes, mild fever, and a dry cough. The dry cough becomes a wet cough after about a week or two weeks, which brings up thick, stringy mucus. The cough processes after 2 weeks’ time, traditional symptoms may appear including fits, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched whoop sound. Sometimes it may happen to vomit even during or after coughing fits.
If having whooping cough, will affect the lungs more easily, especially lung infections called pneumonia and other bacteria germs. Specially complications most commonly develop in babies under 6 months old and it’s very dangerous. If a person does not have any symptoms of whooping cough, that really not spreading. Even they have gotten the vaccine, though they could have symptoms that are mild and still be infectious.
Though whooping cough is a dry cough and does not produce mucus the spells can last up to one minute. It will cause the faces to briefly turn red or purple. But some may have whooping cough with spells and not to everyone.
The best treatment for whooping cough is antibiotics and early treatment is very important. If starts early giving antibiotics before coughing fits begins to make infection less serious. Treatment can also help prevent spreading the disease to close contacts such as people who have spent more time around the patient. The best way to prevent whooping cough is the vaccine and it is better for babies, children, teens, pregnant women, and adults. There are two types of vaccines from the United States namely DTaP and Tdap to prevent whooping cough.
Doctors normally give whooping cough vaccine combination with vaccines against two other serious diseases called diphtheria and tetanus and recommend beginning vaccination during infancy. This combination of vaccines consists of series of five injections given to children at some ages, and it should be given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years. There may be some mild side effects after taking the vaccine such as fever, crankiness, headache, fatigue, or soreness.
There are some ways to get rid of whooping cough at home and those are, getting plenty of rest, this may be a cool, quiet, and dark bedroom to provide relaxation and rest better, drink plenty of fluids, water, juices, and soups as much as they can, eat smaller meals, clean the air and prevent transmission. There are some other tips to prevent whooping cough naturally such as, wash the hands is a universal recommendation whenever possible and cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and encourage the children as well. Wearing a mask is a valuable habit when having a cough because it will prevent spreading through face-to-face contact.