Whooping Cough

by thomplil000
Last updated 6 years ago

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Whooping Cough

Whooping Cough

The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a common cold:runny nosesneezingmild coughlow-grade fever

After about 1 to 2 weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells. During a coughing spell, which can last for more than a minute, the child may turn red or purple. At the end of a spell, the child may make a characteristic whooping sound when breathing in or may vomit. Between spells, the child usually feels well.

Before a vaccine was available, pertussis killed 5,000 to 10,000 people in the United States each year. Now, the pertussis vaccine has reduced the annual number of deaths to less than 30. But in recent years, the number of cases has started to rise. By 2004, the number of whooping cough cases spiked past 25,000, the highest level it's been since the 1950s.

It mainly affects infants younger than 6 months old before they're adequately protected by immunizations, and kids 11 to 18 years old whose immunity has started to fade. Adults and teens with whooping cough may have milder or atypical symptoms, such as a prolonged cough (rather than coughing spells) or coughing without the whoop.

Pertussis is highly contagious. The bacteria spread from person to person through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth. These may become airborne when the person sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Others then can become infected by inhaling the drops or getting the drops on their hands and then touching their mouths or noses.


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