Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. It is characterized by severe coughing spells that can last for weeks and is particularly dangerous for infants and young children.
According to Healthline - Pertussis is caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria, which is spread through contact with an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The bacteria are highly contagious and can easily be transmitted to anyone who is in close contact with an infected person.
According to Healthline - Pertussis can take up to three weeks to develop after being exposed to the bacteria. The most common symptom is a severe cough that is often accompanied by a “whooping” sound when the person breathes in. Other symptoms may include runny nose, low grade fever, and exhaustion. In infants, the cough may be absent, but they may experience apnea (the absence of breathing).
According to Healthline - Pertussis can be difficult to diagnose due to its similarity to other respiratory illnesses. To diagnose pertussis, a doctor will typically ask about the patient’s symptoms, any contact with an infected person, and any recent travel. A laboratory test may also be used to confirm the diagnosis.
According to Healthline - the best way to prevent pertussis is by getting vaccinated. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all children receive the pertussis vaccine (DTaP) at two, four, and six months of age, as well as at four to six years old and between 11 and 12 years old. Adults should also receive the pertussis booster (Tdap) if they have not already done so.
According to Healthline - if pertussis is suspected, treatment should begin as soon as possible. The primary treatment for pertussis is a course of antibiotics, which can help reduce the severity and duration of the illness. Additionally, supportive care measures, such as rest and fluids, can help relieve symptoms. It is important to note that antibiotics do not make the infection go away immediately; it can take several weeks for the symptoms to resolve.
Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can cause severe coughing spells and is particularly dangerous for infants and young children. Vaccination is the best way to prevent pertussis and early treatment is essential for the best outcome. If pertussis is suspected, treatment should begin as soon as possible, typically with a course of antibiotics and supportive care measures.
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