What is Pertussis?
Pertussis is a serious and highly contagious respiratory disease caused by bacteria named Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is marked by uncontrollable and heavy cough, making a person difficult to breathe properly. The coughing also results in “whooping sound”, making it also known as whooping cough.
Though pertussis can affect anyone irrespective of their age, it is quite fatal for babies less than a year old.
Usually, pertussis symptoms appear in about 5 to 10 days. However, not everyone experiences all the symptoms for as long as 3 weeks. The early symptoms of pertussis are as follows:
- Runny nose
- Congestion in the nose
- Red and watery eyes
As pertussis progress, the symptoms may become severe. In such cases, the patient may experience:
- Extreme fatigue
- Whooping sound during breathing
- Blue or purple skin near the mouth
If your or any of your known one experiences these severe symptoms, seek medical consultation right away to avoid any serious complications.
Who is at Risk?
Pertussis risk factors are often few and can be easily prevented. The common factors that can increase your chances of getting pertussis are:
- Not getting whooping cough vaccine
- Contact with the infected person
- Unvaccinated infants
While pertussis can affect people of all ages, it can be deadly for infants and young children. Thus, it is vital that babies are given required doses of vaccination against pertussis.
There are not many pertussis causes since it spreads through bacteria. Here are the possible causes that can lead to pertussis:
- Bacteria: A type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis is the main reason behind whooping cough. The bacteria enter the airways, attach themselves into the tiny hair of the lining in the lungs. With time, they lead to inflammation and swelling in the lungs, thereby causing dry and long-lasting cough and other symptoms.
- Transmission: Since pertussis is an airborne disease, if a person with pertussis sneezes or coughs, the bacteria may fly into the air infecting those around if they breathe in the droplets.
How is Pertussis diagnosed?
Pertussis diagnosis is quite simple. The doctors begin the evaluation by taking a physical exam checking for the symptoms and signs of pertussis. Other than that, there are a few tests that may be taken during the diagnosis:
- Throat Culture: You may be asked for samples of mucus from the throat and mouth for the pertussis test.
- Blood test: The doctors may also conduct blood tests for making an accurate diagnosis.
- X-ray: This helps doctors in checking if there is inflammation or fluid in the lungs.
How is Pertussis treated?
Pertussis treatment depends on the patient’s age and severity of the disease. From prescribing antibiotics to even hospitalization, the treatment may vary. Here is what you can expect when you get diagnosed with pertussis:
- Medications: The doctors mostly opt for antibiotics and other medications to control the spread of pertussis. They also prescribe medicines for treating the symptoms.
- Hospitalization: This treatment method is usually opted for infants when they get infected with pertussis. Since babies lose a lot of fluid due to the disease, they are given IV fluids. Hospitalization also ensures in preventing the spread.
Pertussis cure is possible if you seek medical consultation without any delay. Here at Care.Fit, we have a team of experienced doctors who offer world-class healthcare medical services. Not just this, we also have pediatricians who can treat your child’s condition with care and love. To know more, you can go to your website or app and also book an online appointment.
How can Pertussis be prevented?
Pertussis prevention involves various measures which, if taken properly, can save you and your loved ones from the disease. Some of the common ones are:
- Get Vaccinated: Both infants and young children are vulnerable to pertussis and thus, it is crucial that they get proper booster shots from a trusted health professional. In addition, if you are above 65 and work in the healthcare industry, you should also get a whooping cough vaccination since your chances of getting infected with the disease are high.
- Keep the Air Clean: Doctors recommend using air-purifiers to keep the air clear and free from bacteria.
- Stay Away from Infected Person: If someone is getting treated for pertussis, make sure you maintain distance or follow proper precautions to avoid getting the infection.