Whooping cough refers to infectious diseases of a bacterial nature, which mainly affect the respiratory tract. The disease is highly contagious, mainly children. Only in rare cases, the disease is found in adults. The main signs of whooping cough are spasmodic paroxysmal cough. Now the disease is prevented by vaccination. Before the introduction of compulsory vaccinations, this disease was considered the most common among children, very dangerous and even fatal. However, whooping cough outbreaks occur even now, especially among the smallest and immunocompromised babies.
What is whooping cough? Symptoms and stages of development of the disease
- The causative agent of a dangerous disease is a small bacterium, gram-negative and fixed stick. In the environment, it does not survive, especially drying for it and ultraviolet radiation, as well as disinfectants. Microorganisms are very sensitive to the antibiotic erythromycin, teteracycline, streptomycin and levomycetin.
- When a bacterium enters the body, it begins to synthesize toxic substances that irritate the respiratory tract mucosa. This effect causes a spasm of the bronchi and the muscles of the diaphragm, resulting in a person with strong coughing attacks. Some time after the appearance of the 1st symptom - cough, the cough reflex is fixed by the respiratory center in the medulla oblongata, intensifies and quickens.
The incubation period - the time from the moment the bacteria-pathogen enters the body until the first symptoms of the disease appear - for whooping cough is 7-15 days. Symptoms are increasing gradually. Usually, patients notice a slight increase in body temperature, dry cough and runny nose. At this time, the parents of the child think that this is a common cold and often send him to kindergarten or school. During this period, it is contagious to others.
After some time, the cough becomes stronger and more often, becomes spasmodic. This symptom with whooping cough is very specific, and the doctor immediately understands what a child is sick. With the onset of spasmodic cough after inhalation with a whistling sound, there is a whole series of convulsive cough tremors. They go one after the other without stopping or pausing. Cough attacks in rare cases may be accompanied by vomiting, the face becomes bluish or red.
Often, when you cough, sputum begins to depart. On average, 1 attack lasts no more than 4 minutes. During the day of such attacks can be from 20 to 30, it all depends on the severity of the disease. In a sick person, the face becomes swollen, puffy, and often small hemorrhages occur under the skin. Conjunctivitis may begin and an ulcer may form on the frenulum of the tongue.
Coughing attacks can occur at any time of the day; in most patients, they occur in the morning or at night. In the intervals between attacks, the child’s condition can be no different from normal, even the body temperature is normal. In general, an increase in temperature in whooping cough between coughing attacks indicates that complications of an inflammatory and infectious nature have joined the main disease.
The duration of the period of spasmodic cough is 3 to 4 weeks. Sometimes it is quite long. Over time, the number of attacks is reduced, and the cough becomes less pronounced. But still, for several months, the child has a general fatigue and loss of strength, irritability, a rare weak cough without sputum, increased excitability, confusion of attention.
Adolescents sometimes get sick with whooping cough. But the disease proceeds without convulsive coughing. Usually there is a long and sluggish bronchitis, accompanied by a strong persistent cough. Increased body temperature, as a rule, is not observed, in very rare cases, it is subfebrile. In this case, you should think about the possible complications that have joined the main disease. In general, a person feels fine. There may also be erased forms of the disease in children. Symptoms are very mild. This is observed in those babies who were vaccinated against whooping cough.
Whooping cough often leads to all sorts of complications. This is usually pneumonia of various degrees of severity, it is caused by a completely different microorganism of staphylococci and streptococci. Particularly dangerous whooping cough in very young children up to a year, because a coughing attack can cause respiratory arrest. The duration of respiratory arrest can be from several seconds to several minutes. This causes serious damage to the health of the child. Due to lack of oxygen, convulsions of skeletal muscles, encephalopathy and many others develop. other pathologies.
In addition to pneumonia, whooping cough can be complicated by bronchitis, pleurisy, purulent otitis and false croup (laryngeal spasm), the appearance of bronchiolitis. Very dangerous, but fortunately, there are rare complications that arise due to the strong coughing tension. These include hemorrhages in the brain tissue, pneumothorax, ruptures of the eardrum, inguinal and umbilical hernia, bleeding from the nose. In adults, whooping cough in most cases passes without any complications.
What and how to treat whooping cough in children?
- At the first signs of the disease, you should immediately consult a doctor, self-treatment can be dangerous and lead to serious complications. Sick children are treated in the hospital. At the same time, special conditions must be ensured, since constant ventilation, air humidification, air conditioning. Severely ill children up to 2-3 years old are recommended to settle for a period of illness in a darkened room, where peace and quiet will be observed.
- The child should be disturbed as little as possible because external stimuli can trigger a strong coughing fit. Older children, whose symptoms are not so pronounced, do not need to follow bed rest. However, they should not go to school and kindergarten during illness. It is very important to be as fresh as possible. Cough on the street occurs much less frequently.
- Nutrition sick child is also important. There is a need often, but in small portions. If the baby often develops vomiting due to coughing attacks, hospital treatment and intravenous fluids are required. Infants make removal of mucus from the nose and throat with special devices. The smallest is also shown oxygen therapy in a hospital, because very often the child suffers from a lack of oxygen.
Antibacterial drugs are the basis for the treatment of any bacterial disease, and whooping cough has become an exception. It is especially important to select an adequate therapy in severe forms of the disease and in the presence of complications. During the inflammatory stage, the antibiotic erythromycin is usually prescribed. Also shown is the use of gammaglobulin for whooping cough, injected intramuscularly at a dose of about 3 ml for 1 day. The course of gamma globulins is designed for 3 days.
Antitussive preparations and all kinds of mixtures try to use as little as possible, or even not at all. Moreover, with whooping cough, these funds usually do not give any effect and do not alleviate the patient's condition. Light sedatives are indicated for severe irritability and increased excitability of the child. However, they also will not give quick results.
Mustard and cans with whooping cough are strictly contraindicated, they can provoke the strongest coughing attacks. During respiratory arrest, it is necessary to immediately remove mucus from the respiratory tract and perform artificial respiration.
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With whooping cough, you should immediately contact a specialist. Now this disease is easily treated and is usually not accompanied by complications. But if you start self-treatment and delay in visiting a doctor, the probability of developing side pathologies increases dramatically!