The medical term for whooping cough is the pertussis. It is a condition marked by the infection of the airways lining. Trachea and the bronchi are usually infected in cases of this type of cough. Trachea is the windpipe, while the bronchi are two airway passages that branch off from the trachea to the lungs. Whooping cough is named after the main symptom of this condition and that is a hacking cough that is immediately followed by a strong inhale of breath sounding like a whoop.
The main causes of the whooping cough are the bacteria that are called Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is very infectious or contagious condition and can be easily passed from person to person through the droplets when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Whooping cough is a condition that most frequently appears in infants and children and rarely in adults, although there are cases when it develops in older people as well. When whooping cough appears in infants who are still weak, the symptoms of this condition may be very severe for them. There have also been reported some fatal cases of this condition, unfortunately. It is very important that all children get the whooping cough vaccine in order to prevent the occurrence of this infection later in their lives.
Symptoms of whooping cough
When the bacteria enter the body, the incubation period has to pass before the first symptoms appear. The incubation period usually lasts about seven to ten days, but after that, whooping cough has several stages, while the symptoms are different according to the phases. The most common early symptoms of whooping cough are runny or blocked nose, watery eyes, sneezing and dry cough, as well as sore throat and slightly raised temperature. The person with whooping cough has these early symptoms for about week or two, and then another stage of this condition begins.
The second stage of the whooping cough is called paroxysmal phase. The most common signs of this stage are intense bouts of coughing that bring up thick phlegm and last about minute or two, and a whoop sound after coughing. Furthermore, coughing may be followed by vomiting and extreme tiredness and exhaustion. Additionally to these symptoms, redness in the face from the effort of coughing may also appear. The children may also choke or become blue in the face because of the intense bouts of coughing. This stage of whooping usually lasts about two weeks and the symptoms can even lasts after the bacteria are eliminated from the body.