Posts for category: Child Health Care
Named after the characteristic sound of its notorious coughing fits, whooping cough is an extraordinarily uncomfortable condition that typically manifests itself in babies and in children ages 11 to 18 whose vaccine-provided immunities have begun to fade. In addition to causing several debilitating symptoms, whooping cough also carries the possibility of infant mortality, particularly for patients under 12 months old. Further complicating the matter, initial symptoms often resemble a common cold, making quick detection a tricky task. To be more proactive in the treatment and prevention of this disease, read below to learn the basics on whooping cough and how to best go about alleviating it.
What is Whooping Cough?
Officially diagnosed by the name pertussis, whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that resides within the nose and throat. Whooping cough is spread through airborne bacteria produced by an infected person’s sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Once whooping cough has been contracted, the apparent symptoms begin in an identical fashion to the common cold. That includes:
Fever (below 102 F)
Congestion and sneezing
After a week to 10 days, these symptoms begin to grow worse. Mucus thickens and starts to coat the patient’s airways, leading to rampant and prolonged coughing. These fits can be so violent that that they may cause vomiting, lengthy periods of extreme fatigue, and result in blue or red face. This last sign is the direct outcome of the body’s struggle to fill the lungs with air, and once breathing is finally achieved, the loud “whooping” sound that defines the condition is produced.
What are the Dangers of the Disease?
If left untreated, whooping cough can produce a number of painful and dangerous complications, with the specific ailments depending on the age of the patient.
For teens and adults, untreated whooping cough can result in:
Bruised or cracked ribs
Broken blood vessels in the skin and whites of the eyes
For infants, complications from whooping cough are a great deal more severe. They include:
Slowed or stopped breathing
Feeding difficulties, which may lead to dehydration and severe weight loss
What Can I Do About It?
The best approach to preventing the disease is through vaccination. This is especially important for babies, as whooping cough leaves them in significant danger, though it is essential to keep your children on regular vaccination schedules, regardless of their individual age.
While vaccines are extremely effective in reducing the likelihood of contracting whooping cough, the possibility of developing the condition is still present. Due to this perpetual risk, if you witness your child’s cold symptoms continuing to worsen, arrange an appointment with their local pediatrician to find out if the problem may be whooping cough. If diagnosed early enough, antibiotics can be used to cut down on the painful symptoms and prevent the infection from spreading to others.
Concerned? Give Us a Call
Whooping cough is a serious condition that can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. If you have any suspicions that your child may have developed this condition, give us a call today!
How do I know When my Child is Ready?
- Knows words for urine, stool and toilet
- Is somewhat bothered by feeling wet or soiled
- Shows interest in using the potty
- Has an awareness of when they are about to urinate or have a bowel movement
Are You Ready?
Explore Different Strategies
- The hugs-and-kisses approach – give your child praise every time they use the potty correctly.
- The cold-turkey underwear approach – let your child pick out several pairs of “fun” underwear to make them feel special and go from there.
- The get-with-the-program approach – dedicate time to promoting potty use for your child. Stay home and gently steer your toddler to the bathroom at predictable points throughout the day.
- The sticker-chart approach – this is a fun way to encourage your child to begin potty training. Each time they use the potty, they get a sticker.
Despite all of the research supporting the effectiveness of immunizations, many parents still question the safety of vaccines for their little ones. Will they protect my infant from serious disease? Or are the vaccines themselves harmful?
Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their babies from serious childhood diseases ranging from tetanus and mumps to whooping cough and seasonal flu—and have been for more than 50 years. In fact, vaccinations have reduced the number of infections from vaccine-preventable diseases by more than 90%!
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every child receive the protection that immunization provides.
Do vaccines even work?
Yes, vaccines work every year to protect millions of children from serious illnesses. Because infants are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases, if an unvaccinated baby is exposed to a certain germ, the baby’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Therefore it is very important that parents take the necessary steps to ward off harmful complications through immunization.
Are there side effects?
As with any medication, side effects can occur with vaccines. These side effects are usually very minor and include redness or tenderness at the injection site or a low fever, which indicates that the body is reacting positively to the vaccine. Most babies do not experience any side effects from vaccines, and severe reactions are very rare.
Parents have the power to protect their baby from serious illnesses. Deciding not to vaccinate your child could put him at risk for life-threatening childhood diseases. If you have questions about immunization, talk with your pediatrician. You can also visit the sites listed below for additional information and updated immunization schedules.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Food and Drug Administration
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Network for Immunization Information