Pertussis is a medical term for whooping cough. Itis a respiratory disorder featured by the inflammation of the lining of theairways. Trachea and the bronchi are usually affected by this kind of cough. Tracheais the windpipe, while the bronchi are two airway passages that branch off fromthe trachea to the lungs.
Pertussis or whooping cough got the name afterthe chief symptom and that is a hacking cough, which is instantly followed by astrong inhale of breath that sounds like a whoop. The main cause that is responsible for the occurrenceof the whooping cough is the bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is highly contagious respiratory conditionand can be easily transmitted from person to person through the droplets whenthe person with this kind of infection coughs or sneezes.
Whooping cough is a disorder that most frequentlyappears in infants and children and rarely in adults, even though there arecases when it developed in older people as well. When whooping cough occurs ininfants who are still fragile and weak, the symptoms of this condition may bevery severe for them. There have also been reported some fatal cases of thiscondition, unfortunately. It is highly recommended that all children get thewhooping cough vaccine in order to prevent the incidence of this infectionlater in their lives.
Stages of whooping cough
The first stage of whooping cough is calledcatarrhal stage. After the bacteria enter the body, theincubation period needs to pass before the first signs appear. The incubation period usuallylasts about seven to ten days. After that, whooping cough progresses into thenext stage and symptoms are different. The most ordinary early symptoms of whooping coughare runny or blocked nose, watery eyes, sneezing and dry cough, as well as sorethroat and slightly raised temperature. The person with whooping cough hasthese early symptoms for about week or two and then another stage of thiscondition begins.
The second stage of the whooping cough is calledparoxysmal phase. The most common signs of this stage are intense bouts ofcoughing that bring up thick phlegm, last about minute or two, and a whoopsound comes after coughing. Moreover, coughing may be followed by vomiting andextreme tiredness and exhaustion. Additionally to these symptoms, redness inthe face from the effort of coughing may appear. The children may also chokeor become blue in the face because of the intense bouts of coughing. This stage of whooping usually lasts about two weeksand the symptoms can even lasts after the bacteria are eliminated from thebody completely.