What is Whooping Cough (Pertussis) & Whopping Cough Symptoms
The '100-Day Cough' and How to Avoid It
Whooping cough or pertussis is easy to spot, yet hard to cure. Children are particularly susceptible, but there are ways to keep them safe.
By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
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It’s tough to watch a child struggling with whooping cough. The disease gets its name from the ‘whoop’ a child emits trying to grab a breath between coughing fits.
“It was like nothing I ever heard before,” says Chesli Esqueda of the sound her son Pedro was making. Esqueda and her husband recorded the cough on their phone.
A nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic knew immediately what it was. “She saw it and goes, ‘That’s pertussis, that’s definitely pertussis,’” Esqueda remembers.
Whooping cough is caused by a bacterial infection and children are particularly susceptible. Because their airways are smaller to begin with, the swelling caused is more obstructive.
Often the infection comes from an adult who has only a mild case of the disease, so it’s important for adults to get regular booster vaccinations so they don’t pass the infection to children.
Children are vaccinated for pertussis at 2, 4 and 6 months. It's vital to keep children under six months from becoming infected.
The disease can take months to run its course, even with treatment. It's called the 100-day cough for that reason. ??
Pedro and his whole family were put on antibiotics and, after many weeks, his whooping stopped.
Video: Whooping Cough - Mayo Clinic
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