What is Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough is an infection of the respiratory system characterized by severe coughing spells that end in a "whooping" sound when the person breathes in.
Whooping cough can occur at any age, but is is most common in unimmunized children and in infants under 1 year of age.
Whooping cough is also called Pertussis.
Is Whooping Cough Contagious?
Yes. Whooping cough is very contagious. The bacteria that causes whooping cough is bacteria spread from person to person through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth.
People with whooping cough are most contagious during the earliest stages of the illness up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins.
What Causes Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis Bordetella pertussis is also called B. pertussis.
Symptoms of Whooping Cough
The initial symptoms of whooping cough are:
After about 1 week, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells that last for about one minute. During the coughing spell, the person may become red or purple. After the coughing spell, the person may vomit or make a whooping sound when breathing in.
How is Whooping Cough Treated?
The most common treatments are: antibiotics and medications to reduce fever.
Can Whooping Cough be Prevented?
Yes. If you take the whooping cough vaccine, you will lower your risk of contracting whooping cough. The whooping cough vaccine is part of the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) immunization. DTaP immunizations are routinely given in five doses before a child's sixth birthday.
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