The first symptoms of Pertussis or whooping cough are similar to those of a cold, such as a runny nose, red and watery eyes, a sore throat, and a slightly raised temperature. Intense coughing bouts start about a week later. The bouts usually last a few minutes at a time and tend to be more common at night. Coughing usually brings up thick mucus and may be followed by vomiting. Between coughs, the person may gasp for breath – this may cause a “whoop” sound, although not everyone has this.
The strain of coughing can cause the face to become very red, and there may be some slight bleeding under the skin or in the eyes. Young children can sometimes briefly turn blue (cyanosis) if they have trouble breathing – this often looks worse than it is and their breathing should start again quickly. In very young babies, the cough may not be particularly noticeable, but there may be brief periods where they stop breathing. The coughing bouts will eventually start to become less severe and less frequent over time, but it may be a few months before they stop completely.In 2013, the Global Burden of Disease Study estimated mortality due to pertussis in the first year of life to be approximately 400 per million live births, or approximately 56 000 deaths. In 2016, the number of pertussis cases for India was estimated at 37,274.
Pertussis or Whooping cough is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. Humans are the only known reservoir for these bacteria. Whooping cough is spread by contact with droplets coughed out by someone with the disease or by contact with recently contaminated hard surfaces upon which the droplets landed. The bacteria thrive in the respiratory passages where they produce toxins that damage the tiny hairs that are needed to remove particulate matter and cellular debris that are normally introduced into the airways with each breath. This results in an increased inflammation of the respiratory passages and the typical dry cough which is the hallmark of the infection. Whooping cough is contagious from seven days after exposure to the bacteria and up to three weeks after the onset of coughing spasms.
Whatever the status of symptoms, it is always necessary to consult qualified health care professional for management. Meanwhile some home based care can be started on like: Isolating the person as much as possible; Drinking plenty of fluids, including water, juices, soups, and eating fruits to prevent dehydration; Eating small, frequent meals to decrease the amount of vomiting; Using a cool-mist vaporizer to help loosen secretions and soothe the cough; Keeping the home environment free from irritants that can trigger coughing, such as smoke, aerosols, and fumes.
Management of Pertussis or Whooping cough at the health care facility consists of any or all of the listed points (ONE) presumptive diagnosis of Pertussis or whooping cough based on symptoms; (TWO) diagnosis of Pertussis by taking a sample of mucus taken from the nose and throat; mucus taken from the nose and throat. (THREE) treatment with antibiotics, and supportive care. Patients with suspected Pertussis should be placed in isolation in order to prevent transmission of the disease to others.
The most effective way to prevent Pertussis is through immunization. Because of widespread vaccination of children, Pertussis occurs much less often than in the past. As with all other contagious illnesses, covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing and good hand-washing practices will help prevent the spread of the diseases. If affected with Pertussis it is necessary not to be in contact with people, especially vulnerable people like children, pregnant women.Elimination of pathogen reservoir where the bacteria, viruses and parasites breed and multiply, educating people and health workers on early identification and faster management as we are trying through this video series will also probably help in the prevention of Pertussis.
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