• 05 MAR 18
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    Whooping cough- Causes and Symptoms!

    Whooping cough- Causes and Symptoms!

    One of the deadliest forms of a cough is whooping cough which is taking lives of thousands of infants worldwide. Despite the availability of the vaccines it continues to be the major public health concern. Mainly adolescents and infants below 5 months are the victims of this disease. In some studies, it was also found that both vaccinated and unvaccinated children were at a risk of developing whooping cough. Although this risk is less in vaccinated children this infectious diseases still circulate among them.

    What is a Whooping cough?

    A whooping cough is also called as or a 100-day cough. A whooping cough is an infectious disease of the respiratory system which is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It is an airborne disease which is highly contagious in nature. It spreads easily from a cough and sneezes of an infected person. At the initial stage the symptoms are same as that of a common cough during cold but it last longer to about several weeks along with coughing fits. The coughing fits are often accompanied by the whoop sound while people breathe.

    Who is at more risk?

    Whooping cough can affect the people of all the ages. Adolescents and infants below 5 years of age are at more risk of getting this infectious disease. Adults are also at a risk of getting this illness. It is a serious and deadly disease for babies as it makes breathing difficult for them. Vaccinated people are also at risk of developing whooping cough but they may have milder symptoms. Vaccinated adults can also be infected again as the effectiveness of the vaccine diminishes with the time. They can be infected in their late year of ages.

    Causes and transmission

    A whooping cough is the respiratory infectious disease caused by bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It is a serious contagious disease which spreads from person to person through tiny droplets that comes from the nose and mouth of an infected person. The incubation time is 2 to 6 weeks. The disease is highly contagious in the first week and remains contagious till 6 weeks.

    Symptoms of a whooping cough

    At the initial stage, the symptoms of a whooping cough are same as that of a common cough. The symptoms usually appear after 6 to 20 days of the infection. These symptoms last from 1 to 2 weeks. The symptoms of whooping cough occur in 3 different stages.

    Stage 1. Catarrhal stage: This is the first stage of whooping cough which lasts from 1-2 weeks. It has the following symptoms:

    1. A runny nose
    2. Tiredness
    3. Low-grade fever
    4. A mild or an occasional cough
    5. Apnea in babies

    During this stage, the whooping cough is not easy to diagnose as it looks like a common cough only.

    Stage 2. Paroxysmal stage:  This stage lasts from 1-6 weeks or can last up to 10 weeks also. At the later stage where after 1to 2 weeks as the disease progress the more severe symptoms appear indicating whooping cough. These include:

    1. A rapid cough followed by a sound, whoop
    2. Numerous fits of a cough
    3. Vomiting
    4. Turning blue due to a chronic and persistent cough

    An infected person remains contagious till 2 weeks after a cough begins.

    Stage 3.Convalescent stage: This stage is the last stage which may last for several months. During this stage, the cough starts reducing gradually. Now the infected person is no more contagious and becomes susceptible to other respiratory infections such as common cold. Spasms of coughing may return.

    A whopping cough can be a killer disease if not diagnosed and controlled on time. So patient should not neglect the symptoms as these can be of whooping cough also. Timely prevention and management techniques can save many lives.

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