What is Whooping Cough, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
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What is Whooping Cough, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Whooping cough which is also called pertussis is known to be a very contagious respiratory disease that is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Although it is very commonly seen in children, it can also affect adults.

Whooping Cough Symptoms

The main symptoms of whooping cough is a severe, hacking cough that is often followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like a “whoop.” Other symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever
  • Mild cough that becomes more severe over time
  • Vomiting after coughing spells
  • Difficulty breathing

Whooping cough is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. 

As the illness progresses, the cough becomes more severe and may be accompanied by a “whooping” sound when the person inhales.

It can be particularly dangerous for young children, as it can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, brain damage, and even death.

The best-known way to prevent whooping cough is to get vaccinated before it strikes. 

girl getting vaccinated
Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

The whooping cough vaccine is usually given as part of the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccine to children at ages 2, 4, 6, and 15-18 months, and again at ages 4-6 years. 

A booster shot, called the Tdap vaccine, is recommended for adolescents and adults.

If whooping cough is diagnosed early, it can be treated with antibiotics. 

However, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as the cough can become severe and lead to complications. 

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Whooping Cough Treatment

Treatment for whooping cough may include:

  1. Antibiotics: Antibiotics, such as azithromycin or erythromycin, can help reduce the severity and duration of the illness.
  1. Supportive care: Supportive care, such as plenty of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter cough medicine, can help manage symptoms.
  1. Hospitalization: In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary to provide supportive care, such as oxygen therapy and medications to control coughing.

How To Manage Whooping Cough

In the meantime, there are some things you can do to help manage the symptoms, and these include:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen mucus and prevent dehydration
  • Make use of a humidifier to help add moisture to the air
  • Take over-the-counter cough medicine to help control the cough
  • Try to rest and avoid strenuous activities

It’s also important to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, to prevent the spread of the disease.

In conclusion, whooping cough is a serious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It can be prevented through vaccination and is treatable with antibiotics if caught early. 

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you or your child exhibits symptoms of whooping cough and to practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease.

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