Many people get a cough at some point during the winter cold and flu season, but whooping cough is an especially serious respiratory infection that is preventable but still very problematic. This condition is also known as pertussis and was once considered to be a children’s disease. However, it can affect people of all ages. Here is what you need to know about whooping cough and how to protect yourself from it this cold and flu season.
Causes of Whooping Cough
Bacteria known as Bordetella pertussis causes whooping cough, which is a highly contagious disease. It is commonly spread by a person who has the disease coughing or sneezing into the air, where droplets filled with germs can float around and be inhaled into the lungs of another person. Babies younger than one year of age are most susceptible to serious complications if they get whooping cough. However, the vaccine administered during childhood wears off over time, which means that adults can get whooping cough during an outbreak even if they were vaccinated as a child.
Symptoms of Whooping Cough
The symptoms of whooping cough are usually mild in the beginning and seem no different than the common cold. They include coughing, a runny or stuffy nose, fever, and red eyes. But then the symptoms progress and become more serious, especially the uncontrollable coughing.
Other advanced symptoms of the disease are wheezing for air while breathing, fatigue, and vomiting. A person may also turn red or blue in the face due to the intense coughing spells. It not treated, these symptoms can cause broken blood vessels, bruised ribs, and abdominal hernias because of how violent the coughing can become. In babies, the complications can involve brain damage, seizures, and even death.
How to Treat Whooping Cough
Doctors diagnose whooping cough with a physical exam, lab test with a mucous swab, or a blood test. Since whooping cough is caused by bacteria, antibiotic treatment is usually pursued. Erythromycin is generally taken for two weeks to treat whooping cough.
If you can catch the condition early, the treatment can help prevent the very severe coughing fits that come with this disease. But it you do not seek treatment in a timely way, the bacteria can do major damage to your body and require hospitalization.
Whooping Cough Prevention
The best way to prevent whooping cough is to be vaccinated as a baby and to get a booster shot during adulthood. For infants, the vaccine is typically spread out among several injections at two, four, and six months, and then again at about a year and a half and at age five. Pregnant women are advised to get the booster shot between weeks 27 and 36 of their pregnancies, while anyone who will be around the newborn baby is advised to get it too.
It is also a smart idea to keep surfaces at home and even surfaces out in the world that you come into contact with free of germs as much as possible. Seagate Olive Leaf Surface Cleaner is an all-natural approach to washing away germs without using any chemicals or harmful ingredients. It’s an effective way to reduce your germ exposure on countertops, appliances, toys, electronics, and anything else you touch frequently. Staying home when sick, covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and practicing good hand washing hygiene can also go a long way in preventing the spread of whooping cough from one person to another.