Whooping cough is nothing new when it comes to children’s health – however, this childhood illness is on the rise. This serious disease can sometimes last as long as three months, and it affects over 48 million people every year. Make sure that you know the details about this troubling condition and what to do if it strikes your child.
Who Is Affected By Whooping Cough?
At one time, this highly contagious disease was considered to be an illness that was restricted to young children. However, whooping cough can affect teens and adults as well. It most commonly affects infants and babies who have not received all of their immunizations.
The Symptoms Of Whooping Cough
The main characteristic of whooping cough is a terrible, hacking cough that will not go away. Bouts of coughing are generally followed by a high-pitched gasp for breath that is also referred to as a whoop.
Whooping cough generally begins with symptoms of a mild cold, such as a low fever, runny nose, and a dry cough. As it progresses, mucus levels increase and provoke severe coughing attacks. It can sometimes cause children to turn blue in the face and begin vomiting.
The Cause Of Whooping Cough
Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that is easily passed from person to person through inhalation. There have been two outbreaks in the United States in recent history – one in 2010 and one in 2012. A sneeze or a cough from a person carrying whooping cough can pass it along to someone else.
What To Do If You Suspect Whooping Cough
If your child is exhibiting symptoms of whooping cough, don’t hesitate to make a doctor’s appointment or go to the emergency room. While whooping cough is generally not life-threatening, infants are at a greater risk and complications are possible. Medical staff can diagnose whooping cough using a variety of tests like bacterial cultures, blood work, and x-rays.
Treating Whooping Cough
In older children, whooping cough is easily treated with a two-week course of antibiotics. The most common treatment for infants is hospitalization. Make sure your child gets sufficient rest, stays hydrated, has fresh air, and uses a vaporizer.
Whooping cough is making a comeback, and it’s important that you understand how to protect your family from this disease. The best way to fight whooping cough is by stopping it before it starts – so if you’re due for a tetanus shot, you can get a whooping cough vaccine at the same time. By getting vaccinated and paying attention for the symptoms of whooping cough, you can breathe easy knowing your family is safe.
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