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Whooping Cough Information, Risk Factors
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, can be described as a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract. This infection is usually characterized by a hacking cough, immediately followed by a high-pitched intake of breath. This intake sounds like a “whoop”, which is why the condition is known as a whooping cough. The whooping cough sound can be quite scary for the children suffering from this condition, as well as their parents. In the earlier part of the century, this condition was a leading cause of death and illnesses in the United States.
Whooping cough risk factors increase because of two main factors. The first one is when the effect of the vaccination wears off, after a while. Therefore, during an outbreak, teenagers and some adults may also be more susceptible to the infection. Children who have not received all the three immunization shots are also at a much higher risk. Parents who have more than one child often ask doctors how contagious a whooping cough is. This condition is caused by a bacterial infection and there is a very high chance of it spreading from one person to the other.
Fortunately, it is possible to treat a whooping cough, if the right steps are taken immediately. In several cases, infants may need to be hospitalized for the treatment. However, at times, people may experience recurring whooping cough symptoms, especially if they are also suffering from a cold or another respiratory infection. Also see whooping cough diet
Whooping Cough Symptoms
The whooping cough symptoms in infants, toddlers and children usually take at least 12 days or so to appear, after the body is exposed to the infection. Several parents tend to overlook the initial whooping cough signs in children, mainly because they are quite similar to the signs of a common cold. Some of the most common initial whooping cough symptoms in toddlers, infants and older children include:
Whooping Cough Treatment, Diagnosis
Diagnosing the condition accurately is a bit of a challenge, especially if it is in the initial stages. However, as the condition progresses, many doctors recognize the infection just by observing the symptoms. In some instances, doctors may order certain tests to confirm the diagnosis. Some of the most common test recommended include:
In many cases, doctors allow home treatment for whooping cough, especially for children, toddlers and infants. Given below are some of the most commonly recommended home treatment options for whooping cough:
Do antibiotics work for whooping cough?
Antibiotics are usually required in the treatment of a whooping cough, especially in older children, teens and adults. Since a whooping cough is usually a result of a bacterial infection, most doctors prescribe antibiotics, to kill the cough and to speed up the recovery process. In many cases, when one person suffers from this condition, the entire family and other household members are asked to take antibiotics for whooping cough as a part of preventative measures.
In addition to antibiotics, a patient could also take over the counter medication for relieving a cough. However, these medicines only suppress the cough; they have no effect at all on the infection causing bacteria and therefore should be avoided.
Whooping Cough Causes
Whooping cough is a result of a bacterial infection, which can easily spread from one person to the other. The main whooping cough pathogen is the Bordetella Pertussis, a gram-negative rod, which favors the respiratory tract lining. Studies on bacteria and whooping cough indicate that the only known host for this infection is the human.
|Submitted on January 16, 2014|