Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. It is early symptoms are severe coughing, heavy breathing, and a “whooping” sound in many people. Before the vaccine was developed, whooping cough was considered a childhood disease.
Currently, whooping cough primarily affects children who are very young and have not completed an entire course of vaccinations and adolescents and adults who are immunocompromised. In this valuable article, we will examine whooping cough and how to diagnose and treat it. Please stay with us until the end.
Deaths associated with pertussis are rare but occur primarily in infants. That is why it is so crucial for pregnant women (and others in close contact with a baby) to get vaccinated against whooping cough.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by Bordetella pertussis. In 2018, there were more than 151,000 cases of pertussis worldwide.
Whooping cough is easily spread from person to person, mainly through droplets caused by coughing or sneezing. This disease is perilous in infants and is a significant cause of illness and death in this age group. The first symptoms usually appear 7 to 10 days after infection.
They include a mild fever, runny nose, and a cough that typically gradually develops into a hacking cough followed by whooping cough (hence the common name, whooping cough). Pneumonia is a common complication, and seizures and brain disease rarely occur.
People with whooping cough are highly contagious for about three weeks after the cough starts, and many children who become infected have a cough that lasts 4 to 8 weeks. Antibiotics are used to treat the infection.
You may also be interested in reading the article “Stage of Cold in Babies“
As we mentioned, whooping cough is a bacterial infection that enters through the nose and throat. It is easily spread, but vaccines such as DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) can help prevent it in children and adults.
Whooping cough is a severe respiratory infection caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. The infection causes severe, uncontrollable coughing that can make breathing difficult. Sometimes the patient is forced to purchase and rent an oxygen generator.
The incubation period of this disease is between 5 and 10 days.
It takes 5 to 10 days from the initial infection to the onset of symptoms. Of course, some sources have suggested that these symptoms may not appear even for three weeks.
One to two weeks after this bacterium enters the body, symptoms similar to those of a cold appear in a person. The symptoms of pertussis (whooping cough) can be listed as follows:
As the disease progresses, the signs and symptoms become more severe. The following symptoms can be seen as signs of the progress of the disease in a person’s body:
The best way to prevent this disease is to inject a vaccine. Usually, for the immunity of children and infants, multiple pentavalent vaccine injections are prescribed.
This vaccine protects children up to 5 years of age against pertussis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type B, and tetanus. Injecting the triple vaccine (DTP) at specified periods until age six is another way of prevention through vaccination.
In addition, it is necessary to maintain distance and contact in public places to prevent contracting this disease. It is better to only take babies and children in public places with air conditioning. Also, wash your hands well after being in public places.
If symptoms such as the following are seen, you should see a doctor to prevent life-threatening injuries:
As mentioned, whooping cough is caused by Bordetella Pertussis bacteria. When an infected person sneezes, or coughs, tiny droplets filled with this bacteria are released into the air. In this case, it will enter the lungs of anyone nearby.
Almost everyone receives the pertussis vaccine during childhood. However, eventually, it weakens and disappears. This makes teenagers and adults more susceptible to infection. As a result, its prevalence increases and may be irregular.
Babies under 12 months of age who have not been vaccinated are at the highest risk for severe complications and even death.
It is difficult to diagnose this disease early because its symptoms may be similar to those of other respiratory diseases such as flu or cold and bronchitis.
In most cases, the doctor diagnoses this disease by examining the symptoms and listening to the cough. However, sometimes, for a more accurate diagnosis, there is a need to perform other tests:
In order to make a more accurate diagnosis of this disease, the doctor will examine the patient’s sputum sample from the throat or nose. In this way, if the bacteria of this disease are present, they will be diagnosed with it.
A blood test is done to check the number of white blood cells. The purpose of checking the number of white blood cells is to determine the level of infection in the body because white blood cells fight infection in the body.
The higher their number, the higher the level of inflammation or infection in the body. Of course, this test is general and not only for diagnosing whooping cough.
In that regard reading the article “WBC Count: A Guide To Understanding Your Results And Next Steps” will be necessary.
The doctor recommends this test to check for inflammation and the presence of tissue or any fluid in the lungs. Sometimes it may be due to pneumonia, cough, and other symptoms.
Whooping cough is a bacterial infection and can be treated with antibiotics, usually from the erythromycin family, within two weeks. The patient must take all the prescribed doses if the doctor prescribes antibiotics.
Early termination of the treatment period can lead to the relapse of the disease with a higher severity than before. In more severe cases, the person may need to be hospitalized; sometimes in the intensive care unit, in which case a breathing tube is inserted into the patient’s throat, and until the infection is cured, this tube is responsible for protecting the respiratory tract and helping the patient to breathe.
Infants with pertussis require close monitoring to avoid potentially dangerous complications due to lack of oxygen. Serious complications include:
If your baby experiences symptoms of infection, call your doctor right away. Older children and adults can also experience complications, including:
Symptoms of whooping cough can last up to four weeks or more, even during treatment. Children and adults usually recover quickly with early medical intervention.
Infants are at the highest risk of death from whooping cough, even after starting treatment. Parents should monitor babies carefully. If symptoms persist or worsen, call your doctor immediately. Of course, be careful that this disease is contagious.
Whooping cough is caused by the activity of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis and infection of the respiratory tract. Generally, this disease is highly contagious.
However, until two weeks after the end of the incubation period, there is the highest possibility of transmission of pertussis from an infected person to others.
The symptoms of this disease in the early stages include mild cough, fever with low temperature, runny nose, secretions in the throat, and breathing interruptions in sleep.
In the advanced stages of this disease, severe attacks are followed by coughing, vomiting, and pressure on the bladder due to excessive coughing, watery and red eyes, severe fatigue, broken ribs, unconsciousness and passing out after coughing attacks, and weight loss. Or dehydration occurs.
The best way to prevent this disease is to inject a vaccine.
Today, the death rate due to Whooping cough has decreased drastically and its symptoms is entirely treatable. However, carrying out treatment solutions under the doctor’s prescription is better.
Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.