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Whooping Cough Can Cause Death, Know The Symptoms And How To Prevent

Whooping cough, or also known as "pertussis" is one of the contagious diseases to watch out for. Typically, whooping cough begins with mild respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and nasal secretions come out continuously (catarrhal stage), and then after 1 week to 2 weeks followed by the continuous cough but followed a period in which there is a pause cough (paroxysmal stage). 



Dr. Manny Alvarez, health practitioners from New York University School of Medicine, explains, whooping cough is very contagious through bacterial infection that causes coughing and inflammation of the respiratory organs of the upper part. The disease spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing, activities that spread the bacteria into the air.

The disease is generally difficult to diagnose early, because the early symptoms are often mild and are similar to the flu. In some people, these infections can lead to pneumonia (lung inflammation), even in severe cases, whooping cough can cause death.

Symptoms and signs of whooping cough 
  1. Chest feels cold, loss of appetite, coughing at night, sneezing, lethargy, and eye infections. 
  2. After 7-14 days, the cough becomes more severe and rapidly repeated, accompanied by thick phlegm. 
  3. Every cough ends with a squeaky voice, and sometimes accompanied by vomiting. 
  4. During coughing attacks, patients face looks bluish red. 
  5. In infants, the cough attack can cause the baby not breathing periodically, lack of oxygen, and metabolic disorders.


According to the Mayo Clinic's health site, deaths from whooping cough is rare, but the case is most commonly found in infants and toddlers. Nevertheless, there are actually many ways to prevent whooping cough. One of the most effective for the prevention of the disease is through the administration of DPT vaccine. Vaccines to prevent bacterial infections Bordetella pertussis, the cause of whooping cough, has been around since the 70's.

Ironically, in recent years the prevalence of whooping cough have increased. In England, in 2010 there are 421 recorded cases of whooping cough, while in 2011 there were 1,040 cases.

According to Alvarez, this is because not all vaccines have a permanent effect. Acquired immunity from the vaccine tends to weaken over time. This means that, despite getting vaccinated as toddlers, a person may be exposed to whooping cough in adolescence or adulthood. Because of that, he said, vaccination needs to be repeated to reduce the transmission rate.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of vaccinations at the Health Protection Agency (HPA), said that the effectiveness of a vaccine to protect whooping cough is very good, but the disease is highly contagious and can spread rapidly, therefore, parents should ensure their children are vaccinated so they are protected from the whooping cough disease.

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