Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, can cause serious health issues in babies and children as well as adults. This bacterial illness usually shows up five to ten days after being exposed, but sometimes symptoms don’t show up until weeks after exposure. It is important for parents to understand the symptoms of pertussis and what can be done to help prevent it.
Early signs of whooping cough
In most people who contract whooping cough, early symptoms include a cough and cold-like symptoms. The cough is often not present in babies at first, but they may be affected by apnea. This condition causes a pause in breathing and can be extremely dangerous.
Early symptoms in children include a runny nose, mild fever, apnea, and a mild cough. Because these aren’t surprising symptoms, many pediatricians and parents treat them like the common cold. This means that if your child has whooping cough, you may not even know it until the symptoms get worse.
Later symptoms of whooping cough
After about one to two weeks, the more well-known symptoms of pertussis will start to show. Your child may experience rapid coughing fits followed by a “whoop” sound that is high pitched. Vomiting and exhaustion are also common pertussis symptoms. The coughing fits will be more common as the condition continues and will usually be at their worst at night.
Why whooping cough is dangerous
Although the symptoms listed above are manageable, pertussis is a cause for concern, especially in babies and younger children. In the later stages of the disease, children are more susceptible to other respiratory infections. Around half of the babies younger than age one that gets pertussis requires hospital care. If your baby has this disease, they will probably not cough as much but could stop breathing and turn blue. Recovery is slow, so children can still experience coughing and susceptibility to other infections for months after whooping cough passes.
Preventing whooping cough in your child
The best way to prevent your child from contracting whooping cough is to take them to the pediatrician for a vaccine. You should also keep your children, especially babies, away from others who have the disease. The DTaP vaccine is the recommended preventative for pertussis. This also helps protect against tetanus and diphtheria. Adults can get the vaccine to protect them from getting whooping cough and it is safe for pregnant women.
Visit with a pediatrician today
If you think your child may have whooping cough or could be exposed, contact Dr. John Young and his caring Team today. We have the experience and knowledge to give you and your child the best possible clinical experience. You can reach us at (806) 354-0404 ext. 3330 or Contact Us by email for more information about our Services.