Whooping cough is a serious infection of the upper respiratory tract (passage) that is most Serious in young children. It is caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertrusia., It is a highly communicable disease arid once it is introduced into a susceptible population, almost everybody becomes infected. Once the organism gets into the body, it remains quiet for about one week.
The illness then Passes through three stages: The catarrhal, pyroxysmal and recovery, which together last six to eight weeks. In the first stage, which last about two weeks, the symptoms are those of cold, dry cough, red eyes and slight fever. In the paroxysmal stage, there is a repetitive series of cough that makes the person tired and most Of the time results in vomiting. The infected person may appear blue with bulging eyes and be dazed and weak but the periods between cough paroxysms are comfortable .
During the recovery (convalescent) stage, there is an gradual recovery. The complications. of whooping cough include pneumonia and ear infections. The presence of the disease in a persons body is usually known through its-symptoms.
Treatment: Whooping cough can be treated by given the patient food frequently to make up for nutrients lost due to vomiting. Sedative should also be given to the sick person to induce rest and sleep; and sometimes the use of suction apparatus to remove n mucus and make breathing easy. Antibiotics have little or no effect on whooping cough but are given to combat secondary infection.
Prevention: Vaccine. A vaccine that protects community against whooping cough to children under six years of age is administered, preferably combined with tetanus and diphtheria toxoids and often poliomyelitis vaccine as well. Immunization is usually begun during the first three months of infancy.
A booster dose of petrus is vaccine should be given at 18 months but not generally thereafter ,because reactions to the vaccine may be troublesome in older children. Later vaccinations are in any case, thought to be unnecessary because the disease is much less severe when it occurs if) older children, especially if they have been vaccinated in infancy.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited