Whooping cough, or Pertussis, is a highly contagious. Learn all about whooping cough in babies from signs and symptoms to diagnosis, prevention and treatment.
Whooping cough, or Pertussis, is
a highly contagious and severe infection which affects the respiratory tract.
It’s caused by a bacterium known as Bordetella Pertussis.
someone get whooping cough?
A child may contract whooping
cough by coming in direct contact with bacteria through secretions from the
mouth or nose of an infected person, by directly touching this with their
hands. They may also contract the illness by inhaling air droplets expelled by
an infected person, usually when coughed or sneezed.
suffers from Whooping cough?
Whooping cough is typically present
in babies under the age of twelve months, and children aged five to nine years
However, this condition can affect anyone who lives in close proximity
to an infected person. The majority of hospitalisations and deaths occur to
children under the age of six months.
Once infected, it may take several
months of proper treatment to completely recover from whooping cough. If not
properly treated, children are at risk of developing serious complication such
as pneumonia, fits, apnoea, brain damage and even death.
the signs and symptoms of whooping cough?
Initially, a person suffering
from whooping cough goes through symptoms similar to the common cold including
sore throat, sneezing, and fatigue. Later, symptoms usually associated with
whooping cough become prominent, such as episodes of a severe cough, with the signature
“whooping” sound during inhalation, which can often lead to the baby vomiting.
The patient might also suffer from periods of lack of oxygen, and therefore
whooping cough diagnosed?
Apart from the signs and
symptoms, another way to diagnose whooping cough is to gather a sample of the
secretions from the nose and mouth of the patient, and examine it for the
presence of Bordetella Pertussis.
the treatment for Whooping cough?
Patients suffering from whooping
cough are prescribed antibiotics, like azithromycin, to treat their condition.
To be most effective, the antibiotics need to be given within the first 21 days
of the general symptoms appearing, or the first two weeks
of the cough.
Medication such as Paracetamol can also be administered to help
treat symptoms of the diseases, like fever.
Those who come into close contact
with an infected child may also need to take antibiotics to prevent infection,
especially those at high risk of complications. This includes the elderly,
anyone who works with young children, pregnant women, anyone with a suppressed
immunity, or those with asthma.
prevent whooping cough?
Anyone with a weakened immune
system such as babies, adults who work with babies and pregnant women are at a
high risk of contracting whooping cough. Such individuals should be immunised against
whooping cough when required to prevent the spread, as it’s a highly infectious
disease which can transmit easily from one person to another.
remains the most effective way to control whooping cough in Australia. Booster
dose vaccinations are recommended to adults every ten years.
women should receive a Pertussis vaccination in their third trimester for each
pregnancy as part of the National Immunisation Program Schedule. For each
child, the vaccine is funded for:
aged 2 months
aged 18 months
aged 4 years
oYear 7 student
less than six months of age, whooping cough can be severe or life threatening.
Seek urgent medical attention if your child’s lips or skin go blue, or if they
have breathing difficulties associated with coughing
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