This disease seem too stubborn to leave, it keeps reoccurring. It’s just too persistent I thought when I saw the precautionary message on TV. Whooping cough, a respiratory tract infection derived its name from the sound that’s heard when one with the disease coughs. It is a communicable disease that can be transferred from one person to another. It’s majorly an infant infection caused by a bacterium Bordetella pertussis; it is different from tuberculosis.
Who is at risk?
Children between ages 0 to 5 are at higher risk of whooping cough because there are no visible symptomd and the infection may lead to lung infection, difficulty in breathing, and in some major cases, death in infants. Nevertheless, adults fond of kids or guardian or patients or siblings or care-givers are also vulnerable. Whooping cough can cause pneumonia, weight loss due to continuous vomiting, permanent brain damage, and death if it is in the chronic stage. People whose whopping cough vaccination is worn-out are also at risk.
How does it Spread?
The transfer of the disease occur when an infected person sneezes or coughs and when infected air droplets are released and inhaled.
How does it start?
The scenario starts with a repeated dry and irritating cough that moves into intense bouts of coughing which is followed by a special whooping noise. The cough sometimes may last for 2-3 months; it is also referred to as the 100 days infection in some countries because of the long period of infection. In 2014 worldwide, there were about 139,786 reported cases and about 89,000 estimated deaths.
What are the signs?
Well, they are in stages.
First stage: It starts with a sore throat then occasional coughing and running noise.
Second stage: The whooping sound starts. Burst (paroxysmal) and rapid coughing occurs. The mucus at this stage is thicker than the first stage. The skin of children turn blue and their brain begin to swell and damage due to insufficient oxygen. Some children experience brain seizures and become vulnerable to pneumonia because they are immuno-suppressed. Vomiting occurs at night and the burst of cough occurs more. This stage last for up to 6 weeks and might last for 10 weeks.
Third Stage: The burst of cough reduces gradually but doesn’t stop because of some infections.
How do I protect yourself?
Get immunised! Infants and children under age 5 should get vaccinated. Pregnant women should also get vaccinated to protect their unborn and new born. If you are close to an infant person, you can take antibiotics prescribed by a physician to protect yourself against the infection.
What if I get infected?
Once you notice any of those symptoms above, seek medical attention immediately. Sputum or nasal swab will be collected, cultured, and viewed under the microscope to confirm if the person is truly infected with Bordetella pertussis.
If infection is in the early stage, an antibiotic will be prescribed (It will only stop the bacterium from spreading).
Do not smoke or use air sprays.
Drink a lot of water to avoid being drained.
Use a cool mist vaporiser to loosen mucus and soothe the respiratory tracts.
Infected persons may also be isolated in the hospital to avoid transmission of infection to other people.
Whooping cough is not a friendly disease and it is easily contagious.
Little children and new born are highly at risk and must be vaccinated for protection in order to reduce death rate.
Try as much as you can to cover your mouth with a clean handkerchief when sneezing or coughing. Mothers should be sensitive to their children’s health and once any symptom is noticed, seek medical advice at once. Do not self – medicate so that the bacterium will not become resistant to antibiotics. Some bacteria unlike Bordetella pertussis are a part of our human system.
Let us protect our young ones against this harmful infection. They are our future.
We must safeguard the health of our future ones.
Kick Against Whooping Cough!
Download this for your kids: http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/downloads/bam-villain-for-kids-fs.pdf
Read more: http://www.who.int/topics/pertussis/en/