What Is Whooping Cough?

Whooping cough or pertussis is a bacterial infection of the lungs and respiratory tract that is highly contagious. This disease can be life threatening if it occurs in elderly and children, especially infnants who are not old enough to get pertussis vaccine. Whooping cough can be identified from a series of persistent coughs that begin with a long breath through the mouth (Whoop) . A person can suffer whooping cough for up to three months, so this disease is also called "cough hundred days".

Whooping cough can make the patient lack of oxygen in his blood. In addition, there can be various complications, such as pneumonia . Even in some cases, the patient's ribs are injured by a very violent cough. Whooping cough can spread rapidly from person to person. Therefore, pertussis vaccine is needed to prevent a person from developing the disease. The bacteria that cause whooping cough is usually spread through the fluid that comes out when people cough or sneeze.

Symptoms of whooping cough
Generally, symptoms of whooping cough will occur between 7-21 days after Bordetella pertussis bacteria enter in one's respiratory tract. The development of symptoms of whooping cough there are three stages, especially in infants and young children, namely:
  • The first stage (the period of early symptoms) . This stage is characterized by the appearance of mild symptoms, such as runny and stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, sore throat, mild cough, up to fever. This stage can last up to two weeks, and in this stage the patient is at risk of transmitting whooping cough to people around him.
  • The second stage (paroxismal period) . This stage is characterized by alleviation of flu symptoms, but the cough actually gets worse and uncontrollable. At this stage there is a persistent hard cough that begins a long breath through the mouth (whoop). After the cough attack, the patient may experience vomiting, usually in infants and children, and fatigue. This stage can last two to four weeks or more.
  • The third stage (the healing period) . At this stage, the patient's body begins to improve. However, the symptoms of whooping cough may persist or even harder. This recovery stage can last up to two months or more, depending on the treatment.
Here are some conditions that should immediately receive the handling of doctors:
  • Infants aged 0-6 months who look very unhealthy.
  • Patients difficult to breathe.
  • Patients experience serious complications, such as seizures or pneumonia.
  • Pull out the sound when you inhale.
  • Vomiting due to severe whooping cough.
  • The body becomes reddened or blue.

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The cause of whooping cough
Bordetella pertussis bacteria that spread through the air is the cause of whooping cough in a person. These bacteria enter and then attack the patient's airway wall and release toxins.

Swelling of the airways is one way the body reacts to the toxins released by bacteria. Swollen airways can make a person breathe strongly through the mouth because of difficulty breathing. The result of a strong breath is what generates a long whim ( whoop ). Another way the body will do when bacteria infect the airway wall is to produce thick mucus, then the respiratory tract responds to try to remove the thick mucus with a cough.

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Diagnosis of whooping cough
Whooping cough is still in the early stages is quite difficult to diagnose, because flu or bronchitis have symptoms that are almost similar. Usually from the symptoms of cough in the patient and listening to the resulting cough sound, the doctor was able to diagnose whooping cough.

Doctors can also perform additional checks, namely:
  • Blood test. In this examination can be found an increase in white blood cells and antibodies Bordetella pertussis bacteria in the blood of patients.
  • Mucus sampling from the nose or throat. To see whether the mucus or sputum of the sufferer contains Bordetella pertussis bacteria.
  • Photo Rontgen. The purpose of this examination is to see if the patient's lungs have inflammation or fluid buildup in them. This condition can occur when a whooping cough has complications, such as pneumonia.
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Treatment of Whooping Cough
Be careful if taking any over-the-counter medications to treat whooping cough. Because many types of cough medicine on the market that was not effective to treat whooping cough or even can not reduce the symptoms.

Treatment of whooping cough is differentiated by age group. Here is a complete explanation.

Overcoming whooping cough in infants and children

The main treatment given to this age group is with antibiotics to fight the infecting bacteria. Corticosteroids will be given to overcome airway inflammation. Both antibiotics and corticosteroids can be administered by infusion. Oxygen lid can be given to help breathing.

Whooping cough is severe enough in infants and children can cause damage to their lungs. Special handling in hospitals will concentrate on the use of respiratory equipment (ventilation) and the provision of drugs to control their blood pressure.

In more severe situations, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) oxygenation is possible , in which oxygen is delivered directly to the body without passing through the lungs. This procedure will be given if other methods of treatment do not work and the lung has suffered severe damage.

Treatment of whooping cough in adolescents and adults

Whooping cough in adolescents and adults can usually be treated alone at home or with antibiotics as prescribed by a doctor. Here are some simple steps you can take at home when you have whooping cough:
  • Consumption of ibuprofen and paracetamol , to overcome the symptoms of fever and sore throat.
  • Drink plenty of water, to avoid dehydration.
  • Remove all mucus or vomiting when coughing so as not to choke or inhale again.
  • Many rest.
  • Handling to reduce the risk of transmission
There are several preventive measures that need to be done to avoid transmission of whooping cough, including:
  • Infants and children who have whooping cough will be placed in isolation spaces to avoid spreading the infection.
  • Children will be prescribed antibiotics for at least 5 days before they return to school. If you can not take antibiotics, patients are encouraged to attend school after 21 days after feeling the first symptoms of whooping cough.
  • Adolescents and adults are advised to take antibiotics for at least 5 days before being close to children or go on
  • Patients are advised to cover the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
  • People who handle or treat people with whooping cough are advised to wash their hands regularly with soap.

Complications of Whooping Cough
Whooping cough sufferers who are at greater risk of complications are infants and children. Complications that may occur, whether in children or adults, are:
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Dehydration and excessive weight loss from vomiting.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Low blood pressure .
  • Experiencing convulsions.
  • Brain damage due to lack of oxygen supply to the brain.
  • Kidney failure .
Complications that occur in infants under the age of six months can endanger lives. Therefore, they need immediate medical treatment at the hospital.

Especially in adults, whooping cough can cause complications:
  • The ribs are bruised or cracked.
  • Abdominal hernia (abdominal hernia).
  • Nosebleeds .
  • Ear infections.
  • Rupture of blood vessels in the skin or white eyes.
  • The appearance of canker sores on the tongue and mouth.
  • The face has swelling.

Prevention of Whooping Cough
Pertussis vaccination is the best way to prevent whooping cough. Usually doctors give pertussis vaccine along with diphtheria, tetanus, polio vaccine (DPT vaccine), and Hib.

Here is a vaccination schedule for pertussis:
  • At the age of 2 months.
  • At 4 months of age.
  • At the age of 6 months.
  • At the age of 1.5 to 2 years.
  • At the age of 5 years.
The pertussis vaccine is very safe, but there are some side effects that may occur after the injection is done. Among these are pain, redness, and swelling of the injected part. In addition, the chances of the child will also become fussy or feverish.

Pregnant women also need to get pertussis vaccination. Getting a pertussis vaccination during pregnancy helps protect the baby from whooping cough in the early weeks after birth. Usually a pertussis vaccination will be offered to all pregnant women at their gestational age between 28-38 weeks.

In addition to pregnant women and infants, additional pertussis vaccinations (boosters) need to be given because their protection function tends to weaken. Additional vaccinations can be given when:
  • Teenagers. Immunity pertussis vaccine will begin to weaken when someone is 11 years old. Therefore, that age is the right time to get a vaccination booster pertussis.
  • Adult. Several types of tetanus and diphtheria vaccine given regularly every 10 years also have a function to protect against whooping cough. This type of vaccine also reduces your risk of passing whooping cough to a baby.

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