Pertussis, often called whooping cough, is caused by a bacterial infection and it is a highly contagious illness that spreads easily from one person to another through airborne germs from the nose and throat. Some of the common symptoms of Pertussis include common cold, runny nose, low-grade fever, tiredness, and a mild cough.
HOW IS PERTUSSIS DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis of Pertussis is done by a general physician who checks the above symptoms along with doing blood tests and X-rays.
HOW IS PERTUSSIS TREATED?
Antibiotics such as erythromycin can make the symptoms go away more quickly. Unfortunately, most people are diagnosed to late, when antibiotics aren't very effective. However, the medicines can help reduce the person's ability to spread the disease to others. Infants younger than 18 months need constant supervision because their breathing may temporarily stop during coughing spells. Infants with severe cases should be hospitalized. An oxygen tent with high humidity may be used. Fluids may be given through a vein if coughing spells are severe enough to prevent the person from drinking enough fluids. Sedatives (medicines to make you sleepy) may be prescribed for young children. Cough mixtures, expectorants, and suppressants are most often not helpful.
DID YOU KNOW?
Complications may include:
• Seizure disorder (permanent)
• Ear infections
• Brain damage from lack of oxygen
• Bleeding in the brain (cerebral hemorrhage)
• Intellectual disability
• Slowed or stopped breathing (apnea)