Whooping Cough was a common childhood diseases before vaccine became widely available. It can affect people at any age but is more deadly in infants and children. Whooping cough is caused by bacterium Bordetella pertussis which is highly contagious. It mimics common cold at first, but after 7-10 days the cough turns into “coughing spells” that end with a whooping sound as the person tries to breathe in air. It is a dry cough which does not produce mucus.
Symptoms are not same for everyone and they totally depend on age.
- Running nose
- Dry persistent cough, more during night
- Nausea and vomitings
- Breathing difficulties
- Blue skin around mouth because of decreased oxygen saturation
Treatment and Prevention:
- As whooping cough is caused by bacteria, antibiotic treatment is necessary.
- Infants and children need respiratory support most of the times, so they may need hospital administration.
- If there is dehydration, affected person must be treated with intravenous fluids.
- Don’t use over-the-counter cough medicines, cough suppressants, or expectorants to treat whooping cough.
- Using humidifiers in your child’s bedroom help alleviate symptoms of whooping cough by keeping air moist. Maintaining good hygiene will decrease the risk for whooping cough.
- All children worldwide, including HIV-positive individuals, should be immunized against pertussis.
- Vaccinations for infants should be given at 2, 4 and 6th month. Booster shots are needed for children at 15 to 18 months, 4 to 6 years and again at 11 years old.
- The main aim of pertussis vaccination is to reduce the risk of severe pertussis in infants and young children, due to the high morbidity and mortality caused by the disease in this age group.
- Selected groups with direct contact with pregnant mothers and infant patients, pregnant women, staff working in maternity units or involved in neonatal and infant care, may be considered as priority groups for pertussis immunization.
- Observing the child to see if there is any abnormal change in the present condition is important.
- Tdap is the vaccine given to pregnant women between 27-36 weeks. It is a must to take this vaccine during pregnancy.