Whooping cough (Pertussis) is very contagious and is caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria. It usually starts off with cold symptoms but then turns to a bad cough where the person makes a "whoop" sound when trying to take a breath after coughing. It is a respiratory infection and can be treated by vaccine.
- Whooping Cough is caused by a bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. The bacteria attach to the cilia that line part of the upper respiratory system. Then, they release toxins which damage the cilia and cause airways to swell.
- Spreads from human to human very easily with something like a cough or a sneeze.
- Starts off with congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. Then, it progresses to a cough.
- Fever and fatigue.
- Fits of coughing can be so severe that you can't stop or catch your breath.
- The "whoop" sounds like a sharp intake of air after all the air in the lungs have been coughed out.
- Antibiotics, usually erythromycin or something similar to it. Not much can be done to treat Whooping Cough. Cough medicine does little for it and is discouraged.
- Pertussis vaccine. Vaccinations in babies start at 2 months old and then there are several spaced later on leading to the last one 4 to 6 years before they start school.
Baby being given the Pertussis vaccine.
- Avoid people with whooping cough.
- Wash hands often.