Whooping Cough Symptoms & Causes
Whooping Cough Facts
Whooping cough is a contagious disease of the upper respiratory system. This disease is also know as pertussis and can cause uncontrollable coughing that makes it difficult to breathe. Below are some important facts everyone should know about whooping cough and what to do if you or someone you love has it.
Causes Of Whooping Cough
Whooping cough is caused by the bacteria known as Bordatella pertussis. This bacteria attacks the upper respiratory system by latching onto the lining of the airways, causing them to swell.
How Is Whooping Cough Spread?
This disease is contagious and can be spread from person-to-person. Most people catch whooping cough by being near someone when they cough or sneeze. In some cases, people catch it from spending time in close proximity to someone who has the disease. Typically, most people are contagious for approximately 2 weeks after the onset of symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms?
In the early stages, whooping cough appears to be similar to the common cold. As time goes on, the symptoms worsen and intense coughing begins. The symptoms associated with whooping cough in the early stages include:
- Runny Nose
- Low Grade Fever
- Mild Cough
- Pauses In Breathing
As whooping cough continues, the symptoms worsen gradually. These symptoms may include:
- Extreme Fatigue
- Intense Bouts Of Coughing
- Vomiting While Coughing
- A Distinctive High Pitched Whooping Sound During Coughing
Most people experience intense bouts of coughing during the night, which leads to exhaustion. This disease is very dangerous for babies, because it can cause them to stop breathing for short periods of time throughout the night. The intense coughing can last up to 10 weeks, even in people who are generally healthy.
How Is Whooping Cough Diagnosed?
Doctors diagnose this disease through the process of elimination. If you have been exposed to whooping cough, be sure to let your doctor know. He will begin by taking a detailed medical history and your vital signs. Your doctor will perform an examination and order any blood tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Whooping cough is typically treated with antibiotics. In order to shorten the duration of your illness, early diagnosis is important. This disease can be serious, especially in elderly people and babies. A hospital stay may be required if symptoms are severe and breathing is difficult.
Can Whooping Cough Be Prevented?
Vaccinating people against pertussis is the best way to prevent it. Some people may develop whooping cough after being vaccinated, but the symptoms are usually less severe than those who have not been vaccinated.
Whooping cough is contagious and can be serious if left untreated. If you or someone you love has the symptoms of whooping cough or the distinctive cough that goes with it, see a doctor at once for an examination and treatment plan. Early diagnosis is key to preventing the spread of the disease and to keep its uncomfortable symptoms under control.