Pertussis (Whooping cough), is a serious contagious respiratory that infection caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. The infection is marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high pitched intake of breath that sounds like “Whoop”.
While whooping cough can affect people at any age, it can be deadly for infants and young children.The best way of prevention is vaccination against pertussis which is given in combination with diphtheria and tetanus as DTaP vaccine.
Once you become infected with whooping cough, it takes about 7-10 days for signs and symptoms to appear, though it can sometimes take longer.They are usually mild at first and resemble those of a common cold-
• Runny nose
• Nasal Congestion
• Red, watery eyes
• Low grade fever(below 102°F)
After a week or two, sign and symptoms worsen. Thick mucus accumulates inside your airways, causing uncontrollable coughing. Severe and prolonged coughing attacks may –
• Provoke vomiting
• Result in a red or blue face
• Causes extreme fatigue
• End with a high-pitched “whoop” sound during the next breath of air
However, many people don’t develop the characteristic whoop. Sometimes, a persistent hacking cough is the only sign that an adolescent or adult has whooping cough.
Infants may not cough at all. Instead, they may struggle to breathe, or they may even temporarily stop breathing.
A type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis causes whooping cough. If a person with whooping cough sneezes, laughs or coughs, small droplets that this bacteria may fly through the air. You might getsick if you breathe in the droplets. When the bacteria get into your airways, they attach to the tiny hairs in the lining of the lungs.
The bacteria cause swelling and inflammation, which lead to a dry, long- lasting cough and other cold-like symptoms.
Whooping cough can cause anyone at any age to get sick.It may last 3 to 6 weeks. You can get sick from it even if you have already been vaccinated.
The whooping cough vaccine you receive as a child eventually wears off. This leaves most teenagers and adults susceptible to the infection during an outbreak and there continue to be regular outbreaks.
Infants who are younger than age 12 months who are unvaccinated or haven’t received the full set of recommended vaccines have the highest risk for severe complications and death.
Teens and adults often recover from whooping cough with no problems. When complications occur, they tend to be side effects of the sternous coughing, such as –
• Bruised or cracked ribs
• Abdominal hernias
• Broken blood vessels in the skin or the whites of your eyes
In infants- especially those under 6 months of age- complications from whooping cough are more severe and may include-
• Slowed or stopped breathing
• Dehydration or weight loss due to feeding difficulties
• Brain damage
• Bleeding in the brain
•To diagnose whooping cough, your doctor will perform a physical exam and take samples of mucus in the nose and throat.
These samples will then be tested for the presence of the B. pertussis bacteria.
•A blood test may also be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
•Your doctor may order an X-ray to check for the presence of inflammation or fluid in the lungs.
Infants are typically hospitalized for treatment because whooping cough is more dangerous for that age group.If your child can’t keep down liquids or food, intravenous fluids may be necessary. Your child will also be isolated from others to prevent the infection from spreading.
Treatment for older children and adults usually can be managed at home.
Antibiotics kill the bacteria causing whooping cough and help spend recovery.Exposed family members may be given preventive antibiotics. Over-the-counter cough medicines, for instance, have little effect on whooping cough and are discouraged.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
In Ayurveda whooping cough is termed as Dushta Kasa.
Beneficial Herbs –
• Ginger –
• Sitopladi Churna
• Talishadi Churna
• Ras Manikya
• Mahalaxmivilas Ras
• Sanjivani Vati
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