by AK Team
Whooping cough, that is also known as pertussis, is a kind of bacterial infection that affects the respiratory system of the person infected by this bacteria.
Pertussis is a very contagious disease and can be spread very easily either by direct contact or indirect contact of a healthy person with a person who is infected by this type of bacteria.
The bacteria that causes this type of contagious bacterial disease in the respiratory system of the infected person belongs to Bordetella family. The name of the bacteria that is responsible for causing this type of bacterial disease is called as Bordetella pertussis.
The most common symptom of this type of bacterial disease is violent coughing that makes it really difficult for the infected person to breathe. Due to this reason when the person takes deep breath a sound of “whoop” is made and hence the name of this disease whooping cough or pertussis.
This type of bacterial disease can affect people of any age group but children especially infants (those who are less than 1 year of age) are at a higher risk of getting affected by this type of bacterial disease.
Earlier there was no specific treatment that was available for the treatment of this kind of bacterial disease. Due to this reason, the number of deaths caused due to this type of bacterial infection was really high in the past especially amongst children. Now due to advancing technology in every field and in medication as well, there are various treatments that are available for the treatment of this type of bacterial disease. The most common and main treatment that can even be considered as a prevention for this type of bacterial infection is a course of DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) vaccination in children, youngsters and adults as well.
STAGES OF WHOOPING COUGH
The stage of the disease indicates that at which phase of the disease the infected person is at currently and in which direction the disease is progressing (that is whether it is mild or severe). This type of bacterial disease usually has three stages. The three stages of this type of bacterial infection are listed below :
Catarrhal stage or stage 1
- Catarrhal is the initial stage of this type of bacterial infection.
- This stage 1 can last up to about 1 or 2 weeks in the infected person
- The most common symptom that occurs in this stage are a runny nose, sneezing and a mild cough.
- The symptom that a person experiences in this type of bacterial infection and in this stage are all similar symptoms that a person experiences while having common cold.
Paroxysmal stage or stage 2
- Paroxysmal stage is the second stage of this type of bacterial infection.
- This is the diagnostic stage of this type of bacterial infection
- In this stage the infected person experiences a “whooping” sound while breathing deeply, as the person has issues while normal breathing
Convalescent stage or stage 3
- Convalescent stage is the last and final stage of this type of this type of bacterial infection
- This stage most probably begins approximately after 4 to 5 weeks after the person gets infected by this type of bacterial infection
- Usually in this stage the infected person starts to recover and the coughing becomes less frequent
- Though this stage is the recovery stage in many people only if the diagnosis and treatment is done at the proper time and the initial stages
- If the treatment is not done in the initial stages, then this disease might be deadly for many people especially in young children ( in infants who are less than 1 year of age)
SYMPTOMS OF WHOOPING COUGH
The type of symptoms a person experiences in this type of bacterial infection entirely depends on the stage of the disease the infected person is at and also the age factor of the infected person. There are various symptoms that a person who is infected by this type of bacterial disease has. Some of the common symptoms that might occur in an infected person are listed below :
- Runny nose
- Low – grade fever ( this symptom usually occurs in the initial stages of the disease that is either in the Catarrhal stage or in the Paroxysmal stage)
- A mild cough that is occasional
- A pause in breathing that is in simpler terms commonly known as apnea
- Vomiting ( this is very common after or during coughing)
- Exhaustion or feeling very tired after coughing
- Paroxysms of many and rapid coughs that is usually followed by a very high – pitched “whoop” sound
- Red and watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Provoke vomiting
- Resulting in a red or blue face
- Causing extreme fatigue
- Having a real difficult time while breathing in
CAUSES OF WHOPPING COUGH
- This type of bacterial disease is usually caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis in infected individuals.
- This type of bacterial infection in usually transmitted by two ways : either by direct contact with the infected person or by indirect contact with the healthy person
- In case of direct way of transmission of the disease : when the person who is already infected by this type of bacterial infection either coughs, sneezes or talks and droplets are released in the environment.
- When a healthy person inhales these droplets released by the infected person, he also gets infected by the disease.
- In case of indirect method of transmission of this type of bacterial infection when the infected person who is infected by this type of bacterial infection touches or uses any specific object and when a healthy person touches or uses the same object used by the infected person, the healthy person also gets infected by this kind of bacterial disease.
DIAGNOSIS OF WHOOPING COUGH
There are various diagnostic tests that are available for the diagnosis of this type of bacterial disease. Following listed are some of the diagnostic tests that a person might consider when he or she is suspected to have this kind of bacterial infection.
- Physical examination based on the symptoms
- A nose or throat culture and test as well
- Various blood tests
- A chest X – ray
TREATMENT FOR WHOPPING COUGH
There are various treatments that are available for this type of bacterial infection. Some of the common and the most important treatments that are available for this kind of bacterial infection are listed below :
- Certain medications
- Getting plenty of rest
- Drinking plenty of water
- Eat smaller meals
- Preventing transmission of the disease by maintaining sanitization