What is whooping cough?
An infectious cough that normally affects infants and children. It is most dangerous to infants and affects the throat.
How is it spread?
occurs through direct contact with discharges from respiratory mucous membranes or infected people. It can be caught by kissing, from saliva, or from breastfeeding mother to infant.
What are the symptoms?
Phase 1: Cold-like symptoms:
- Mild fever
- Running nose
- Sore throat
- Mild dry cough
- Loss of appetite
- Night cough
Phase 2: Coughing spasms (this is the dangerous phase of the disease):
- Rapid breath intake - the “whoop” noise
- Dry racking cough- in cases where the cough is not severe enough to “whoop”
- Breathing difficulties- all of these are serious and are very dangerous to babies
- Holding breath (infant)- newborns with undeveloped cough reflex. Instead of coughing, babies may appear to hold their breath. They may exhale too much and not inhale enough. Babies may turm blue instead of coughing.
- Non-breathing periods- breathing srops for a period of coughing.
- Blue or purple- an inadequate supply of oxygen to the body. Newborns might go blue without coughing.
- Convulsions- not enough oxygen to the brain can cause convultions
- Choking- the flem from the throat infection can interfere with breathing.
- Feeding difficulties- the cough also leaves little time to eat or drink. The act of feeding and infant can also trigger a coughing fit, making it hard to feed an infant.
Phase 3: Gradual recovery:
Whoop-like cough may recur due to other respiratory infections