Pertussis or whooping cough is a condition that is characterized by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like ""whoop."" The first signs are mild and may resemble common cold. After a week or two, signs and symptoms worsen. Thick mucus accumulates inside your airways, causing uncontrollable coughing.
HOW IS PERTUSSIS DIAGNOSED?
The initial diagnosis is most often based on the symptoms. However, when the symptoms are not obvious, pertussis may be hard to diagnose. In very young infants, the symptoms may be caused by pneumonia instead. To know for sure, the health care provider may take a sample of mucus from the nasal secretions. The sample is sent to a lab and tested for pertussis. While this can offer an accurate diagnosis, the test takes some time. Most of the time, treatment is started before the results are ready. Some people may have a complete blood count that shows large numbers of lymphocytes.
HOW IS PERTUSSIS TREATED?
Antibiotics are administered to kill the bacteria causing whooping cough. The condition is highly contagious hence, family members may be prescribed preventive antibiotics.
DID YOU KNOW?
There is a preventive vaccine available for pertussis and it is advised that children be given the same. Doing so minimises risks and reduces seriousness of the condition.