PERTUSSIS - Watsons Health
PERTUSSIS - WatsonsHealth

PERTUSSIS

Pertussis or a whooping cough is an extremely contagious disease. It is an infection of the respiratory tract by bacteria that lives in the mouth, nose, and throat named Bordetella pertussis. This generally affects infants younger than 6 months old, those who aren’t yet protected by immunizations and children 11 to 18 years of age whose immunity has weakened. The disease spreads easily generally through sneezing or coughing. A lot of children who develop pertussis have cough that lasts for four to eight weeks.

Initial symptoms of pertussis are the same as that of the common cold such as:

  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • mild cough
  • low-grade fever

The dry, infuriating cough, after about 1 to 2 weeks, develops into coughing spells. A child may go red or purple during a coughing spell.

Infants usually don’t cough or whoop like older kids but may appear as if yearning for air with a reddened face. During very bad spells, they may also actually stop breathing for a few seconds, known as apnea.

If you suspect that your child has pertussis, call a doctor. The doctor may take a medical history, physical exams, mucus samples, blood tests and chest X-rays.

Pertussis is mainly treated with antibiotics. It is important to treat pertussis as early as possible for this will make your infection less serious.

Treatment will also help in preventing the spread of disease from an infected person to other.

After three weeks of infection, the treatment will not be effective.  You will still have symptoms but the bacteria are not present in your body by then.

To clear the airways, a child, while in the hospital, may need suctioning. The child’s breathing will be closely watched and he or she will be given oxygen if needed. If a child indicates signs of dehydration or has difficulty eating, intravenous fluids might be required.

Safety measures will be taken to avoid the spreading of infection to other patients, hospital staff, and visitors.

Because pertussis can be critical for infants, they are likely to always need hospital treatment.

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