Pertussis or whooping cough is a respiratory disease. In infants (less than 6 months of age), it can lead to life-threatening conditions if left untreated in the early stages of the disease. This is also known as 100 days cough as the full period of recovery from the illness is 3 months (though cough intensity may decrease in 2 to 3 weeks). Whooping cough is caused when the respiratory system is infected by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis.
Running nose, common cold, dry cough
The initial dry cough stage can last for 1 to 2 weeks. In the next stage of the disease, the child may have diarrhoea and vomiting. When the infection reaches the next stage, there would be a noticeable increase in the intensity of cough followed by a “whoop” sound. If the disease goes undiagnosed and untreated till this stage, the child may have trouble breathing and may turn blue upon which immediate hospitalization and treatment would be required.
Whooping cough in infants can be treated with ease in the early stages of the infection using antibiotics. As the disease in highly contagious, it is advisable that the whole family (adults & children) undergoes treatment to prevent the disease from spreading or recurring in the child.