Whooping Cough is serious. Whooping cough also known as pertussis is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory system. Whooping cough is caused by the bacterium named Bordetella pertussis. Whooping cough is named so, cause of "whoop" sound that occurs when the person breathes in. These bacteria spread through tiny drops of fluid, which become airborne when patient laughs, sneezes or coughs. Whooping cough infects people around if these tiny fluid drops are inhaled. Person can also get infected if gets drops on hand and then touches nose or mouth. Patients are most contagious in earlier stage after the cough begins. Intake of antibiotics as prescribed by doctor can shorten the period of contagiousness.
Children can be prevented from whooping cough with the help of pertussis vaccine. Pertussis vaccine is a part of DTAP immunization. These immunizations are routinely given to infants in first five years, which protect them from dangerous illness caused due to whooping cough such as pneumonia, encephalopathy and repiratory failure. For additional protection child aging from 11-18 can be given booster shot, which is a new combination vaccine called TDAP.
Whooping cough initializes as a soar throat with mild tiredness and feeling of being unwell. In 2 or 3 days it turns into ordinary dry cough. In next 7 to 10 days dry cough starts converting to productive cough forming small amounts of phlegm. After some days choking cough starts to occur. Patient suffers from mild fever in first week and may be runny nose like early stage of cold.
Usually from 2 weeks onwards attacks of choking cough starts. These attacks last for 1 to 2 minutes. Patient often vomits and feels suffocation during attack. The duration between these attacks of coughing patient feels perfectly well and appears normal. These coughing attacks can occur twice a day or even fifty times a day. It may happen that between these chocking attacks patient may not cough even once. Sometimes patient is unable to breathe after a severe coughing attack, which turns him blue. Patient recovers fast from this condition and comes back to normal in just few minutes. Patient suffers from this cough at least for 3 weeks and can extend up to 3 months.
Average cases of whooping cough do not have treatment, which can make difference in duration of illness or reduce the symptoms. Effective antibiotics, bronchodilators and cough suppressants can shorten the period of infection. Patients suffering from whooping cough are given antibiotics such as erythromycin. This antibiotic kills bacteria in patient's body so that spreading of whooping cough can be prevented. It does not cure disease but stops it from spreading and even developing.
If patient gets severe illness then he can be treated with steroids. Steroids reduce the severity and additionally antibiotics can be used to prevent more complicating infection. When serious complications occur such as pneumonia. Treatment required for that is standard antibiotic treatment. Some patients suffer from infection of bacterial tracheo-bronchitis. This infection causes increase of cough and sputum, which can be improved with antibiotics.