Saturday, March 24, 2007

WHOOPING COUGH (Pertussis)

Whooping cough is a well known disease that occurs, in most cases, during childhood. If a child has already been given DTP vaccine (which is given in a combined form), such an immunization will reduce the incidence and severity of attack and if the attack comes, its duration and severity/intensity would be far less. It is believed that an attack also usually confers immunity.



Symptomatic Causes and progress of disease



It is contagious disease caused by the infection of mucus membranes by the bacterium Hemophilus pertussis



It primarily affects children, though older children or even adults could also be the victims.



After an incubation period of 1-2 weeks, mild fever, cough, catarrh and loss of appetite develop and persist for 1-2 weeks.



Cough becomes paroxysmal when short bouts of cough follow in an almost quick succession, and followed by involuntary drawing in of the breath which produce the whooping sound.



After each paroxysm there is vomiting, bleeding from mouth and nose. This state lasts for about 2 weeks and the child remains infectious throughout.



The foregoing stage lasts for 2-3 weeks after which symptoms starts declining but cough may persist for another few weeks.



During an attack, the child may even turn blue which indicates lack of oxygen and poor circulation.



Though whooping cough is seldom serious and generally poses no danger to life, but the child remains exposed and susceptible to T.B. and pneumonia which complication can create further health problems. As soon as above-mentioned initial symptoms are noticed, consult a doctor for prompt and requisite treatment but never administer any drug or home remedy of your own.

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