Can whooping cough be prevented?
An effective vaccine against the pertussis bacteria is available and provided as part of regular adult and child vaccination programs in most countries.
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Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects mostly young children under the age of two years. It is a potentially serious condition that can cause major complications and even death.
At first, the symptoms of whooping cough resemble those of the common cold. After a week or two, a distinctive whooping cough often appears, coming in fits of rapid coughs. It lasts for several weeks. Some individuals may have a non-specific cough …
Whooping cough is caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria. These bacteria infect the airways and cause inflammation.
Babies and young children are in most danger of developing whooping cough and its complications.
Your doctor will diagnose whooping cough by your symptoms, particularly the distinctive cough. Your doctor may also wish to take a mucus sample from the throat to test for the presence of the pertussis bacteria, or carry out a blood test.
Antibiotic treatment can help ease the symptoms of whooping cough if started early enough, and prevent further infection.
Whooping cough normally goes away naturally after a few weeks or months. In babies and young children, medical attention may be required.
For light cases of whooping cough, bed rest, drinking plenty of liquids and clearing mucus from the airways can help ease the symptoms.