Velocity Care shares insight into this highly contagious illness
All it takes is one tiny, airborne droplet contaminated with pertussis bacteria to cause weeks of terrible coughing and severe cold or flu-like symptoms. Pertussis – known as whooping cough – is becoming more common, especially in babies under 6 months of age and older adults who haven’t updated their immunizations.
Protect yourself, your family and those around you by learning the symptoms and causes of whooping cough and how to prevent it.
What are the symptoms of whooping cough?
The illness usually begins with the same symptoms as the common cold: runny nose, watery eyes, fever and cough. These symptoms will last for about seven to 10 days – and then will worsen and thick mucus will become present in the chest, which causes severe irritation and bouts of coughing. These coughing attacks can make it extremely difficult to breathe and may cause a person to turn red or blue in the face. A person may also vomit and will usually develop a “whooping” or high-pitched wheezing sound.
What causes whooping cough?
Pertussis bacteria cause the highly contagious whooping cough. The bacteria spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, sending contaminated water droplets into the air. Then someone inhales these tiny droplets, and they become infected with whooping cough.
Who is at risk?
The people most at risk for contracting whooping cough are those under the age of 6 months who have not yet received their full course of pertussis vaccinations and adults who are overdue for their booster shots. It’s important that new parents or anyone else around young babies keep up to date on their pertussis vaccination schedule to ensure they do not pass the illness to those infants who are not yet fully vaccinated.
How can I prevent whooping cough?
The most effective method to prevent whooping cough is to get vaccinated. Newborns should receive a course of three shots at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. Each injection usually contains a combination of pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria vaccines. Children should receive a booster at 18 months of age and then another in their early teenage years. By ensuring that your family’s immunization schedule is up to date, you will be able to effectively protect them from contracting whooping cough.
It’s also important to practice good hygiene. Washing your hands frequently and coughing and sneezing into your sleeve or a handkerchief will help to keep you healthy and prevent you from spreading germs to others.
Do you suspect that you or a loved one may have contracted whooping cough? Are you overdue for your next round of immunizations? If you answered yes to either of these questions, visit your local walk-in clinic in Little Rock, Arkansas or Shreveport and Natchitoches, Louisiana offers fast, effective treatment options and can provide vaccinations for your entire family.
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