Whooping cough: what is this disease and how to avoid it
Whooping cough is an infectious disease in which the upper respiratory tract becomes inflamed and there is a strong, long-lasting, paroxysmal cough. The disease is usually acute, it is extremely dangerous for young children (especially under the age of 1 year). Most often, whooping cough is ill for children under 5 years of age who were not vaccinated in time.
The causative agent of pertussis is the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, infection occurs through airborne droplets. The bacterium secretes toxins, and they, in turn, irritate the respiratory mucosa. The result is a spasm of the bronchi and diaphragm, which leads to strong coughing attacks. Whooping cough is very contagious, especially during contact with patients from day 1 to day 25 of the disease. It is noteworthy that the immunity after suffering whooping cough is often lifelong.
Symptoms of the disease
Whooping cough lasts a long time – on average, one and a half months. The course of the disease can be divided into 3 periods: catarrhal, paroxysmal and recovery.
In the first period, which lasts an average of 2 weeks, there is a runny nose, a slight increase in temperature, a cough that is not affected by antitussive drugs.
On the 3rd week, the second and most difficult period begins, when the coughing fits become strong and frequent. At this stage, the disease becomes extremely dangerous for infants, because they do not have a typical cough. Attacks can lead to short-term cessation of breathing in a baby, which threatens the life of the child.
Recovery from pertussis takes a long time, and paroxysmal coughing attacks can occur over several months.
Diagnosis and treatment of whooping cough. Complications of whooping cough
It can be difficult to diagnose a disease, because at first it is mistaken for an ordinary ARVI. The main symptom here is a characteristic cough. In general, only a doctor can determine whooping cough based on symptoms and laboratory tests.
During treatment, the patient’s access to fresh, moist air is of great importance. Antibiotics are used to combat the bacterium, and antihistamines, antitussives, and antipsychotics are used to alleviate cough symptoms.
Whooping cough is also dangerous due to its complications, the most frequent of which is pneumonia. It arises from pertussis sticks or from a bacterial infection that arose during the course of the disease. In this case, the disease is very dangerous for newborns and very young children, death is not excluded.
The role of prophylaxis in whooping cough
If we talk about such a dangerous and unpleasant disease as whooping cough, it is easier to prevent than to treat it. This will help vaccination, which produces immunity against the disease. Pertussis vaccine is included in DTP (Adsorbed pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus vaccine). Vaccination against these diseases is in the vaccination calendar, for the formation of strong immunity, it must be done 5 times: at 2, 4, 6, 18 months and at 6 years.
Whooping cough is very serious, especially for children of the first year of life. It is not by chance that most of the vaccinations for this disease are being done at this particular time. Do not expose your child to undue risk, because this disease is much easier to prevent than to cure.