Pertussis

(Whooping Cough )

Definition

Pertussis is a bacterial infection. It is also called whooping cough. The bacteria invade the lining of the respiratory tract and may block your airways.Pertussis is highly contagious, and in some cases, serious. Antibiotics are used with pertussis.
Upper Respiratory Tract
Normal Upper Airway During Sleep
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Causes

Pertussis is caused by specific bacteria. It is spread by:
  • Inhaling droplets from the sneeze or cough of a person infected with pertussis
  • Having direct contact with the mucus of a person infected with pertussis

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chances of getting pertussis include:
  • Not being immunized
  • Living in the same house or working in close contact with someone infected with pertussis

Symptoms

Symptoms usually begin within a week or 2 after exposure.Initial symptoms last about 1-2 weeks. They may include:
  • Runny nose and congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Mild fever
  • Mild cough
  • Watery, red eyes
The second stage of pertussis is called the paroxysmal stage. This stage usually lasts 1-6 weeks, but can last much longer. Symptoms may include:
  • Severe coughing
  • Long episodes of coughing that start suddenly and may end with a forceful inhale or whoop sound (the sound does not occur in all people)
  • In severe cases, coughing may cause a person to have trouble breathing or turn blue from lack of oxygen
  • Coughing episodes may result in vomiting
During the final stage, the cough gradually gets better over 2-3 weeks. Episodes of coughing can still occur during this stage.Complications in infants and young children may include:Complications in teens and adults can include weight loss and inability to control urine. Rarely, fainting or rib fractures can occur from severe coughing.

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