Whooping cough was once considered a serious childhood illness, much more so than today. Many more people contracted whooping cough, and sadly, many more people knew children who had succumbed to whooping cough. Nowadays, however, two factors have made whooping cough less fearsome. Firstly, there is an effective vaccine against whooping cough. We also have effective antibiotics to treat whooping cough.
Inasmuch as medicine has advanced, whooping cough is no laughing matter. We need to protect ourselves from it and deal with it by using the gifts of medicine and up-to-date knowledge of supplementary nutrition.
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Whooping Cough is a highly contagious illness of the respiratory system. In most cases, it comes along with a dry, loud cough that ends with a sharp intake of breath, a whoop. Medically, this condition is known as pertussis; its colloquial name is whooping cough because of its characteristic noisy inhale after the cough.
Before the pertussis vaccine was developed, whooping cough was considered a fatal childhood disease. Today the victims of whooping cough are mainly infants who are too young to have gotten the vaccine or adults who have been vaccinated, but for whom the effect of the vaccine has worn off. Whooping cough is not usually fatal, but it can lead to death if there are complications.
When a child vomits after a violent coughing spell, turns blue or red in the face, seems to be having trouble breathing, or breathes in with a “whoop”, a loud sharp noise, seek immediate medical assistance.
Adults usually recover from whooping cough without any side effects. Complications for an adult can include broken ribs from the intense coughing and burst blood vessels in the skin or eyes. If a young child, especially an infant under six months, contracts whooping cough, it can lead to pneumonia, slowed breathing, loss of respiratory function, dehydration, abnormal weight loss, and even brain damage. Being that young children are more susceptible to complications from whooping cough, they will often be hospitalized.
It can be difficult to diagnose whooping cough because the early symptoms can be mistaken for a regular cold. The doctor may be able to identify this disease according to the sound of the cough. It may be necessary to take a culture of the nose and throat or a blood test to detect pertussis. An x-ray of the rib cage will help determine if there are further complications.
When a person contracts whooping cough, it may take 7-10 days for symptoms to become noticeable. Early symptoms are mild: congestion and/or a runny nose, red eyes, fever and coughing. After a week or two, the symptoms worsen. Mucus gathers in the windpipes and this can cause heavy coughing, vomiting, becoming red or blue in the face, and fatigue. At this stage, the “whoop” after the cough can be heard when inhaling the next breath. Not all patients will cough with this noise, and their intense cough that lasts for a long time will be their only symptom. Very young children may not even cough; they will just seem to have trouble breathing.
Helpful and Healthful:
First: prevention, prevention, prevention! The pertussis vaccine is the most effective way to rule out contracting this disease. Even if you may experience slight aftereffects from the vaccine, those are usually mild and don’t last long. Those aftereffects from the vaccine are milder than the mildest form of actual whooping cough.
In cases where it is impossible to vaccinate, it is important to strengthen the immune system. ImmuniKid, created especially for children, boosts the immune system to enable the body to fight bacteria before they cause sickness. DMG is also helpful for any kind of breathing problem and for the body’s proper use of oxygen.
A patient with whooping cough needs to rest. A quiet, dark room will help the patient sleep well. It is also extremely important to drink enough. Especially in children, be on the lookout for signs that the child is getting dehydrated. It is recommended to eat smaller portions, more often, to prevent vomiting after coughing.
When a patient is in the same room for a while, the room should be aired out periodically. Those in contact with the patient should wash their hands often and possibly even wear a mask over their noses and mouths.
Doctors will usually send patients under six months old to the hospital because they are most susceptible to complications from this condition. It is also important to isolate the patient to prevent the spread of the disease. Patients that are older than six months and in good health can be treated at home. A doctor will prescribe antibiotics to all patients with pertussis as this is a bacterial infection. The doctor may even prescribe medication to family members to prevent the spread of the whooping cough.
• Whooping cough is highly contagious.
• Half of all very young children who contract pertussis need to be hospitalized.
• Whooping cough can be transmitted to others even when one is not yet aware that they are infected with the disease.
• Full recovery from whooping cough may take two to three months.