UNDERSTANDING WHOOPING COUGH
A whooping cough or pertussis is a bacterial infection of the lungs and respiratory tract that is highly contagious. A whooping cough was considered a childhood illness when the pertussis vaccine has not been found. Actually, whooping cough can also be suffered by adults, but this disease can be life threatening when it occurs in elderly and children, especially infants who are not old enough to get the pertussis vaccine.
This disease has the character of a series of continuous hard cough that begins a long breath through the mouth ( whoop ). A person can suffer a whooping cough for up to three months, so this disease is also called “a cough hundred days”.
A whooping cough can make the patient lack oxygen in his blood. In addition, there can be various complications, such as pneumonia. Even whooping coughs can accidentally injure their ribs because of a very hard cough.
A whooping cough can spread rapidly from person to person. Therefore, pertussis vaccine is needed to prevent a person from a whooping cough.
Generally, symptoms of a whooping cough will occur between 7 days to 21 days after Bordetella pertussis bacteria enter the person’s respiratory tract. The development of symptoms of a whooping cough has three stages, especially in infants and young children:
- The first stage (early symptoms): mild symptoms such as the runny and stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, sore throat, mild cough, and fever. This stage can last up to two weeks, and in this stage, the patient is at risk of transmitting whooping cough to people around him.
- Second Stage (paroxysmal period): This stage is characterized by alleviation of flu symptoms, but a cough is even worse and uncontrollable. At this stage occurs a continuous loud cough that begins a long breath through the mouth ( whoop ). After the cough attack, the patient may experience vomiting (usually in infants and children) and the body is exhausted. This stage can last two to four weeks or more.
- Phase Third (healing period): this stage the patient’s body starts to improve, but the symptoms of a whooping cough still exist even the patient can cough harder. This recovery stage can last up to two months or more depending on treatment.
Here are some conditions that should immediately receive a doctor’s treatment:
- Infants aged 0-6 months look very unhealthy.
- You or your child has trouble breathing.
- You or your child have serious complications, such as seizures or pneumonia.
- Cut out the sound when you inhale.
- Vomiting from severe whooping cough.
- The body becomes reddened or blue.
Bordetella pertussis bacteria that spread through the air is the cause of the onset of a whooping cough. These bacteria enter and then attack the walls of the trachea and bronchus (tracheal branching leading to the right and left lung).
Swelling of the airways is one way the body reacts to infection by bacteria. Swollen airways can make a person breathe strongly through the mouth because of difficulty breathing. The result of a strong breath is what generates a long whim ( whoop ).
Another way the body will do when bacteria infect the wall of the airways is to produce thick mucus. The body will stimulate people a whooping cough to try to remove the thick mucus.
A whooping cough is still in the early stages quite difficult to diagnose because flu or bronchitis have symptoms that are almost similar. Usually from the symptoms of a cough in the patient and listen to the resulting cough sound, the doctor was able to diagnose a whooping cough.
Doctors can also add another check, namely:
- Blood test. The doctor will identify an increase in white blood cells. Also to find Bordetella pertussis bacterial antibodies in the patient’s blood.
- A sampling of mucus from the nose or throat. The doctor will examine whether the patient mucus containing the bacteria Bordetella pertussis.
- X-ray imaging. The goal is to see if the lung sufferers experience inflammation or fluid buildup. This condition can occur when whooping cough has complications with pneumonia or other respiratory infections.
Be careful if taking any over-the-counter medications to treat a whooping cough. Because many types of cough medicine on the market that was less powerful to treat a whooping cough. Even the drug can not relieve symptoms of a cough.
Overcoming whooping cough in infants and children
Infants and children who have a whooping cough will be placed in isolation spaces to avoid spreading the infection. The main treatment given is antibiotics to fight infectious bacteria. Corticosteroids will be given to overcome airway inflammation. Both antibiotics and corticosteroids can be administered by infusion. The lid of oxygen may be given to assist breathing.
Infants and children with severe whooping cough can cause damage to their lungs. Special handling in hospitals will concentrate on the use of respiratory aids (ventilation) and the provision of drugs to control their blood pressure with drugs.
In more severe circumstances, do Oxygenation extracorporeal membrane (ECMO = extracorporeal membrane oxygenation ), where oxygen should be fed into the body without passing through the lungs. This procedure will be provided if other techniques are unsuccessful and the lungs are already severely damaged.
Handling in adolescents and adults
Treatment of a whooping cough in adolescents and adults can usually be treated alone at home or with antibiotics as prescribed by a doctor. Here are some simple steps for self-care at home:
- To cure symptoms of fever and sore throat, you can take ibuprofen or paracetamol.
- To avoid dehydration, it is advisable to drink plenty of water.
- Remove all mucus or vomiting when coughing so that the patient does not choke or inhale again.
- It is recommended to rest a lot.
Whooping cough sufferers who are at greater risk of complications are infants and children. Complications that may occur in both children and adults are:
- Discontinuous breathing.
- Dehydration and excessive weight loss from vomiting.
- Low blood pressure.
- Experiencing convulsions.
- Brain damage due to lack of oxygen supply to the brain.
- Kidney failure.
Complications that occur in infants under six months of age can be life-threatening, and they require immediate medical treatment at the hospital.
While a whooping cough in adults also have various complications but are generally milder, include ribs experiencing bruising or cracking, abdominal hernia, nosebleeds, ear infections, rupture of blood vessels in the skin or white eyes, the appearance of sprue on the tongue and mouth, and face Experiencing swelling.
Pertussis vaccination is the best way to prevent a whooping cough. Usually, doctors give pertussis vaccine along with diphtheria, tetanus, polio vaccine (DPT vaccine) and Hib.
Here is a vaccination schedule for pertussis:
- At the age of 2 months.
- At the age of 4 months.
- At the age of 6 months.
- At the age of 1.5 to 2 years.
- At the age of 5 years.
The pertussis vaccine is very safe, but there are some side effects that appear after vaccination, such as pain, reddening, and swelling of the injected part. The chances of the baby will also become irritable, feverish, and often cry.
Pregnant women also need to get pertussis vaccination. Getting a pertussis vaccination during pregnancy helps protect the baby from a whooping cough in the early weeks after birth. Pertussis vaccination will be offered to all pregnant women at their gestational age between 28-38 weeks. If you want to get a pertussis vaccine during pregnancy, consult your obstetrician.
In addition to pregnant women and infants, additional pertussis vaccinations ( boosters ) need to be given because their protection function tends to weaken. These additional vaccinations can be given when:
- Teenagers . Immunity pertussis vaccine will weaken from the time someone is 11 years old. Then the age becomes the right time to get a booster vaccination pertussis.
- Adult. Several types of tetanus and diphtheria vaccine given regularly every 10 years also have a function to protect against a whooping cough. This type of vaccine also reduces your risk of passing on whooping cough to the baby.
To avoid transmission of a whooping cough, the patient should rest the house to complete the dose of antibiotics given by the doctor. People who often interact with patients should be given precautions to avoid getting infected. Preventative measures against a whooping cough include antibiotics. Doctors can also provide a booster of pertussis vaccine.
People who are prone to contracting whooping cough are:
- Pregnant women during the last trimester of pregnancy.
- Newborn baby.
- Infants aged under 1 year and have not received complete DPT vaccination.
- People with weak immune systems.
- People who have chronic diseases such as asthma or heart failure.
- Children under 10 years who have not been vaccinated DPT.
In addition, there are also groups that are prone to transmit, ie workers health facilities, social care, and child care. These people also need to be given precautions.