Bogged down by whooping cough? Get your baby vaccinated now!

Ever heard about the 100 days cough? This is another name for Pertussis or the whooping cough. This is a highly contagious medical condition caused by Bordetella pertussis, a bacterium, and is characterized by a barking cough accompanied by a sudden gasp for air. The gasp of air is evident because of a high-pitched sound that is like a “whoop”.

Vaccinations for whooping cough

The disease is generally noticed in childhood and is normally because of an incomplete vaccination schedule. The disease is also noticed in adolescents who suffer from a compromised immune system.

In many underdeveloped nations, whooping cough is known to be detrimental for infants and this is the reason why the pregnant mothers and their infants are given a vaccine against pertussis.

The vaccination has the capability of preventing many child deaths worldwide. Kids deprived of the pertussis vaccine have 23 more times chances of catching the whooping cough as compared to the kids who have been administered proper immunizations.

More about whooping cough

Whooping cough is the result of the infectious bacterium, Bordetella pertussis, which leads to an infection in the larynx, trachea and the bronchi.

The symptoms are acute inflammation of the airways along with spasmodic coughing that is uncontrollable. The exertion due to the coughing leaves the patient with watery eyes.

Whooping cough symptoms

The coughing spell ends as a whoop with breathing problems and is caused by a spasm in the larynx .The other symptoms of the inflammatory condition include malaise, blocked nose, mild fever, sore throat, runny eyes, and these symptoms keep worsening as time passes.

If the symptoms worsen then the time period of the coughing spell can last till lengthy agonizing minutes. The patient can cough up phlegm and a gagging feeling may be experienced. The lack of air in the air passage, because of the incessant coughing, can cause temporary blueness in the face.

The infection

The mucus in the airways starts to build up with the infection and the inflammation and the patient tries to throw it out by coughing. The Infants are unable to handle the cough spells and often end up with gurgled food or phlegm in the form of vomit.

The incubation period of the disease is about 6-20 days. The contagious bacteria are capable of entering into the airway of another person as they are transported through sneezes and coughs. The infection is in the form of droplets spread out in the air that can be inhaled by another.

Diagnosis and treatment of whooping cough

The infection may go unrecognized as the symptoms are same as flu, bronchitis and common cold. It’s only the sound that is characteristic of the disease. A medical Practitioner can diagnose the medical condition by doing a nose or throat culture test. Another indication of an infection is the white blood cell count that is the first hint to any contagion in the body. Further diagnostic blood tests can reveal the presence of the bacteria.

The contagious Whooping cough can lead to other respiratory complications like pneumonia that can be confirmed by a chest X-ray. The chest x-rays will reveal the presence of a fluid buildup in the lungs.

The ideal treatment of whooping cough includes lots of fluids, care, rest and steroids/antibiotics that have been suggested by a registered Practitioner.

Edited by Neelam Goswami on 25-02-2014.

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