Kids Diseases


Whooping cough Whooping cough, also referred to by specialists as pertussis, is a highly contagious infection of the lungs caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. It is frequently called the ‘100 days’ cough’ because of its duration.

Tiny droplets of fluid produced from coughing, sneezing or talking may easily spread the infection. It is not restricted to certain age groups but prevails in the under five-year-olds.

In England and Wales GPs deal with approximately 35,000 consultations for pertussis infection each year. It also accounts for more than nine deaths a year.

Symptoms of Whooping cough:

The symptoms of the whooping cough take about seven days to show once the incubation period is over. Its very first signs resemble these of a cold: sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, mild fever and dry night-time cough.
Gradually, coughing begins to appear in regular spasms.

There is a succession of short coughs followed by a sudden drawing-in of breath which explains the typical whooping sound (it may not be perceived in small babies). Symptoms worsen within 10-15 days. The inside of one’s airways is covered with thick mucus which is responsible for the uncontrollable coughing.

The fits of coughing, often taking place at night, may also cause vomiting. One’s face is likely to redden or become bluish because of the lack of oxygen. The whooping cough fits in babies typically occur after feeding.

The coughing spasms change the colour of a child’s face and lead to the profuse secretion of mucus from the nose or the mouth. Severe fits of coughing may even result in nosebleeds and subconjunctival haemorrhages (bleeding into the white of the eye).

Although complications are seldom at hand, pneumonia, seizures and bronchiectasis (when one’s small airways become enlarged) may be spotted. In babies, whooping cough may cause apnoea (a condition in which one’s breathing stops) and sudden death.

Causes of Whooping cough:

Luckily enough, whooping cough is relatively easily diagnosed. It can be detected by monitoring the symptoms and examining a swab taken from one’s throat or nose for the presence of bacteria.

If you worry that your child may have a whooping cough, especially if there is vomiting or if complaints do not fade within a few days, consult a doctor. Seek immediate medical help if your child seems particularly unwell, turns blue during coughing or shows other worrying symptoms.

Treatment of Whooping cough:

Whooping cough may well be treated successfully at home with plenty of rest and fluids. However, if it is more persistent, subjects may need to be hospitalized.

There are opposing views as to the benefits of antibiotics. Such medication has been confirmed not to shorten the course of the illness. On the other hand, it terminates the spread of whooping cough to other people.

Antibiotics are to be prescribed only by a medical representative once the precise course of treatment is settled. The symptoms of whooping cough may be evident for two to three months.

The number of people that become infected of Whooping Cough has been markedly reduced since the implementation of immunisations. Since November 2001, children in the UK have been routinely offered a preschool booster between the ages of three and five.

The same is done for babies who are routinely immunised against whooping cough when they are two, three and four months old.