Whooping cough is a major respiratory disease we’ve never heard of, but it mainly affects children and babies. This contagious disease is a threat that most of us do not consider in our daily lives, but which can have serious consequences. Whooping cough, caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis, manifests itself mainly with fits of coughing and affects the airways, making it difficult for the patient to breathe.
The incubation period of the disease begins quietly and the symptoms become apparent over time. While whooping cough can be prevented with vaccination and conscious precautions, it can cause serious complications in unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals. In this article, we’ll explore everything from whooping cough symptoms to treatment methods. It is essential to understand this important disease and take precautions to protect our health.
What is whooping cough?
Whooping cough is a contagious respiratory infection, also known as whooping cough. This disease, medically called whooping cough, is usually caused by a bacterial pathogen, Bordetella pertussis. Whooping cough is a serious disease that mainly affects children and infants and can be more serious, especially in unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals.
Whooping cough is transmitted through airborne droplets from coughs or sneezes of infected people. The bacterium Bordetella pertussis contained in these droplets settles and multiplies in the upper respiratory tract of the person with whom it comes into contact through the respiratory tract. The illness, which initially shows symptoms similar to a cold, manifests itself after a few weeks with more characteristic coughing attacks.
It is possible to prevent choking and the symptoms it causes. For this it is very important that children are fully and regularly vaccinated. Otherwise, if diagnosis and treatment are delayed in children with whooping cough, life-threatening risks can arise due to the irregular oxygen supply to the brain. Damage to the lungs and other organs can occur.
How is whooping cough transmitted?
Whooping cough is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a bacterial infection, Bordetella pertussis. This disease poses a serious threat, especially to children and infants, and is associated with complications that can be fatal. Whooping cough is easily spread, usually through coughing, sneezing, or respiratory secretions from an infected person. Conditions with a high risk of transmission include:
1. Contact with carriers of the disease
An infected person can spread the whooping cough bacteria into the air in the form of respiratory droplets when coughing, sneezing or speaking. These droplets can be easily inhaled by uninfected individuals.
2. Close Contact
Whooping cough can spread more easily in family or school settings where close contact is common. People who share the same environment and have frequent contact with the infected person are at risk of being exposed to the infection.
3. Transmission by air
Whooping cough bacteria can remain airborne for a long time and can be transmitted by being airborne in the vicinity of the infected person. This means that there is a risk of transmission even after the infected person has left the environment.
4. Unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated persons
The whooping cough vaccine provides protection against the disease and can significantly prevent the spread of the disease. Unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals are at greater risk of contracting and spreading the disease.
5. Newborns and babies
Newborns and infants are vulnerable to whooping cough because they have not yet been vaccinated according to their vaccination schedule. That is why it is important to vaccinate adults in the immediate vicinity and reduce the risk of infection.
6. Weak immune system
People with weak immune systems are more vulnerable to infections and more likely to get the disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough is a contagious respiratory infection and a serious health problem that mainly affects children and babies. Whooping cough is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis and is often accompanied by coughing fits. Symptoms of the disease can vary at different stages and recognition of these symptoms is important for early diagnosis and treatment.
1. Incubation period
Individuals exposed to whooping cough go through an incubation period that is usually 7 to 10 days. During this period, the symptoms of the disease have not yet appeared, and the person can transmit the disease to others, but show no symptoms themselves.
2. First phase (catarrhal phase)
The first stage of whooping cough begins with symptoms similar to the common cold. Symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, mild cough, mild fever and weakness may be observed. This period can usually last 1 to 2 weeks.
3. Paroxysmal stage
The paroxysmal stage, also called the second stage, is recognized by the most characteristic and severe symptoms of whooping cough. Coughing fits are the defining feature of this period. Seizures occur as a succession of rapid, severe, and uninterrupted coughing attacks. It may be difficult for patients to breathe while coughing and an attempt to take a deep breath may be observed at the end of coughing attacks. When coughing, a characteristic “choking” or “wheezing” sound may be heard. The paroxysmal phase usually lasts 1 to 6 weeks.
4. Healing phase
After the paroxysmal stage, coughing attacks decrease in frequency and severity. The general health and energy of the patients improve and the healing process begins. The recovery phase usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks and continues until the patient is fully recovered.
How is whooping cough treated?
Whooping cough is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a bacterial infection, Bordetella pertussis. The disease is associated with serious complications, especially for children and infants. Whooping cough treatment is important to reduce the severity of the disease and prevent complications with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment methods. Here are the basic methods used to treat whooping cough:
Early diagnosis and health monitoring
Recognition and early diagnosis of whooping cough is important for the effectiveness of treatment. It is important for people with suspected whooping cough to see a healthcare provider and have any necessary tests done. It is important to monitor the disease and manage the treatment process, especially in those at high risk, such as infants, children, and the elderly.
Treatment with antibiotics
Antibiotics can be used to treat whooping cough in its early stages. Antibiotics help destroy the whooping cough bacteria and can reduce the severity and duration of the illness. Newsting treatment in the early period helps prevent the progression of the disease and the development of complications. However, antibiotics are less effective in the paroxysmal stage of the disease and treatment can be started after the severity of the coughing fits have subsided.
Particularly in the paroxysmal stage, supportive treatment can be used for symptoms such as coughing and breathing difficulties. Humidifiers and inhalers can be used to help patients breathe comfortably and relieve coughing attacks. It is also important to pay attention to patients’ fluid intake and nutrition, as whooping cough can cause feeding problems, especially in infants.
Isolation and contamination prevention
Since whooping cough is an infectious disease, it is important to isolate patients and prevent transmission. Contact of persons with the disease should be limited, especially with infants, children and people with weakened immunity. In addition, it is important that patients cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, wash their hands regularly and disinfect used items.
How is whooping cough diagnosed?
Whooping cough is disease specific and very characteristic. When a coughing fit begins, the person coughs repeatedly. At this time, the air in the lungs is completely emptied, and the person begins to cough very hard. There is a deep sound when coughing due to the evacuation of air in the lungs. The person seems to be choking and has this feeling.
What happens if whooping cough is not treated?
If whooping cough is not treated, shortness of breath and shortness of breath can occur during coughing spells. This prevents oxygen from reaching the brain and can cause brain damage. This disease, which can cause life-threatening risks, must be intervened in a short time and the patient must be treated.
Does whooping cough occur in adults?
Whooping cough is a disease that occurs not only in children, but also in adults. Since it is contagious, it can be seen in anyone, but children are more affected by the disease. For this reason, children are more susceptible to this disease. Adults are also at risk, as the whooping cough vaccine does not provide lifelong protection.
Which doctor treats whooping cough?
For whooping cough, hospitals can turn to the ENT departments. If you are not sure about the disease, you can also turn to the internal diseases department. After the necessary tests and analyzes, specialist doctors prepare a treatment plan for the patient and can treat the person with various medications.
When is the whooping cough vaccine given?
Combination vaccine, including pertussis vaccine, is given to infants aged 2, 6 and 6 months. After 18 months, the vaccines are repeated. Babies should be vaccinated to prevent life-threatening diseases such as whooping cough in children. Otherwise, many health problems can arise.
How many years does the whooping cough vaccine protect?
Pertussis vaccines do not provide lifelong protection. This vaccine provides protection in children for 5 to 7 years. However, people who have had the disease can become immune to whooping cough. Whooping cough, which usually does not have very serious consequences in adults, is a high-risk disease for infants and children. That is why it is very important to get vaccinated.