How to recognize whooping cough

Thursday, 23 May 2024



Customer question:

How to recognize whooping cough? Anonymous customer's question



Pharmacist's answer:

Whooping cough is a typical bacterial respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Recognizing whooping cough is based on recognizing a combination of signs and symptoms that appear during the course of the disease.

Key signs and symptoms of whooping cough include:

  • Paroxysmal cough: an intense, continuous cough that often occurs in fits (paroxysms). These coughing fits can be so severe that they cause difficulty breathing or even vomiting.
  • Breathing problems: An intense cough can cause breathing problems or shortness of breath.
  • General malaise: Patients with whooping cough may feel exhausted, tired or have general body aches.
  • Unwanted symptoms: in addition to coughing, patients with whooping cough may also experience other symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, fever or general malaise.
  • Vomiting or feeding problems: An intense cough can trigger vomiting or cause feeding problems.

To confirm the diagnosis of whooping cough, a doctor may perform testing, such as a PCR test for the presence of the bacterium Bordetella pertussis in a swab from the nose or throat. If you suspect you have or have been exposed to whooping cough, consult your doctor. Early recognition and treatment of whooping cough is key to preventing complications and preventing the infection from spreading to others.



How to distinguish whooping cough from ordinary?

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis cough, is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. This disease is known for sudden attacks of intense coughing, which can be repeated and last even for several weeks. In addition, typical symptoms of whooping cough include a runny nose, sneezing, fatigue and fever.

The key difference between whooping cough and common cough lies in the cause and course of the disease. Whooping cough, also known as acute bronchitis, is usually a viral infection that affects the respiratory tract. The symptoms of whooping cough can be similar, including a dry or wet cough, fever, chest pain, and a runny nose, but are usually not as intense or long-lasting as whooping cough.

In addition, whooping cough is more contagious than common cough, especially in the early stages of the disease. It is therefore important that people with whooping cough are isolated and receive appropriate treatment to prevent further spread of the disease. Diagnosing whooping cough usually involves laboratory tests, such as nasal and throat swabs, to identify the Bordetella pertussis bacteria.

However, it is important to emphasize that the symptoms of whooping cough in newborns, infants and young children can be less obvious and often manifest as shortness of breath or cessation of breathing, which is a serious life-threatening condition. It is therefore important that children are vaccinated against whooping cough in accordance with national vaccination guidelines in order to prevent this disease and thus protect those who are most at risk.



Can whooping cough be recognized before it becomes contagious?

Recognition can be challenging, as symptoms usually begin days or weeks after exposure to the infection. The initial symptoms can easily be mistaken for a common cold or other viral respiratory infection, as they include a runny nose, sneezing, weakness and a dry cough. In the initial phase of the disease, before it becomes contagious, recognizing whooping cough is difficult, as the symptoms are not specific.

Contagiousness increases when characteristic symptoms appear, such as paroxysmal bouts of coughing, accompanied by characteristic hoarseness or wheezing and difficulty breathing in general. At this stage of whooping cough, before it becomes contagious, time can be crucial to prevent the spread of the disease. If whooping cough is suspected, it is recommended to seek a medical opinion and perform appropriate diagnostic tests, such as nasal and throat swabs, to identify the Bordetella pertussis bacteria.

In addition, vaccination is one of the most important methods of prevention. Regular vaccination of children and adults in accordance with the recommendations of health authorities can significantly reduce the risk of infection and spread of pertussis in the community.



How to identify whooping cough in children?

Whooping cough pIn children, it can be recognized by the following symptoms: paroxysmal bouts of intense coughing that can be repeated and last for several weeks, hoarseness or wheezing during coughing fits, shortness of breath, runny nose, sneezing, fatigue and fever. In newborns and infants, symptoms of whooping cough can manifest as shortness of breath or cessation of breathing, which is a sign of serious danger. If there is a suspicion of whooping cough in a child, it is important to seek medical help for diagnosis as well as for appropriate treatment.



Interesting reading: Pertussis in the elderly

Interesting reading: What does pertussis cough look like?



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