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Understanding Whooping Cough

girl-coughing

Image is from Live Science

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection also known as pertussis. The infection gets into your nose and throat, and it is very contagious. When a person with whooping cough sneezes, coughs, or laughs, small drops of the bacteria can fly into the air. When a person walks by and breathes in the air, they can develop the disease if they haven’t completed their series of vaccines or if they have not had a booster shot. Fortunately, there are vaccines such as Tdap and DtaP that can prevent both adults and children from contracting the disease.

Symptoms of Whooping Cough

The early symptoms of whooping cough start out like a cold. You can have a mild cough, sneezing, a runny nose, and a low-grade fever below 102. After about 7 to 10 days, the cough will start getting worse. A mild cough can turn into coughing fits. By the time the disease is full blown, you will create a whooping sound when you cough as you try to fill your lungs with oxygen. Since the cough is dry and not productive, you can have a coughing spell that can last for up to a minute. During this time, you face can turn red or purple. There are, however, some people who don’t have coughing spells .When an infant has whooping cough, they won’t have the whooping sound or the cough. They will just gasp, trying to catch their breath. Also, some babies will vomit.

Whooping Cough is Extremely Dangerous in Babies

If a child under 6 months old and they develop whooping, cough, they would need to be hospitalized. Even if you think that your child could have this disease, you should take them to a doctor immediately. When a child under 18 months old has whooping cough, they would need to be watched at all times. This is because the disease can cause the baby to stop breathing, and they would need help to get their breathing started again.

Preventing Whooping Cough

Babies get a series of DtaP shots when they are 2 months old, 4 months old, 6 months old, a 15 to 18 months old. They are then given a booster shot between 4 and 6 years old. Because a baby won’t be fully protected against the disease until they are 18 months old, the best way to prevent them from developing whooping cough is to make sure that any adult who will be around the child has been vaccinated. This includes parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family members. If you baby is in a licensed daycare, the people who work in these facilities will have been vaccinated. It is the law.

Treating Whooping Cough

If you have whooping cough and it is diagnosed early, the doctor can put you on antibiotics to help stop the coughing and the other symptoms. The antibiotics can also stop the disease from spreading. Unfortunately, whooping cough is often diagnosed too late for antibiotics to work well. You should avoid using over the counter medications to treat the cough as they won’t work. Finally, if the coughing is so bad that you are unable to drink, you should contact our doctor. If you are unable to drink fluids, you could become dehydrated.

Whooping cough can make the life of an adult miserable. The constant coughing can make it difficult to sleep at night and even to hold a conversation. When a baby has whooping cough, it can be much more dangerous. Prevention, early diagnosis, are treatment are very important if you get whooping cough, no matter how old you are.

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