Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Treatment Specialist Q&A
If you or any of your loved ones are having pertussis, come to Columbia Clinic Urgent Care for a complete checkup and comprehensive treatment. For more information, please call us or request an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you in 82nd Avenue Portland OR, Division St Portland OR, Mall 205 Portland OR, Clackamas Happy Valley OR, and Tigard OR.
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In most cases, whooping cough symptoms appear seven to ten days after infection, although it may take longer in some cases. At first, they’re mild and resemble a common cold, with symptoms such as a runny nose, fever, red or watery eyes, nasal congestion, and coughing.
Signs and symptoms worsen after a week or two. Your airways become clogged with thick mucus, causing uncontrollable coughing. An intense and prolonged coughing attack may cause a red or blue face, extreme fatigue, vomiting, or a high-pitched “whoop” sound when breathing. The characteristic whoop, however, does not appear in all people. An adolescent or adult with whooping cough may only have a persistent hacking cough.
It is possible infants do not experience a cough at all during this condition. They can struggle to breathe or even temporarily stop breathing.
Bordetella pertussis is the bacteria that causes whooping cough. Coughing or sneezing by an infected person can spread germ-laden droplets into the air, where they are inhaled by anyone nearby.
As a child, you receive a whooping cough vaccine that eventually wears off. In an outbreak, most teenagers and adults are susceptible to the infection – and outbreaks continue to occur regularly. Young infants who are not vaccinated or have not received the full set of recommended vaccines are at the greatest risk for severe complications and death.
Runny noses, congestion, sneezing, and mild coughing are other similar symptoms to the common cold that may present with a whooping cough in adults. Usually, severe coughing begins after a week or two. It can last up to 10 weeks and cause pneumonia and other complications.
Pneumonia can be very serious and even deadly, but most people respond well to treatment. A weakened immune system, an older adult, a very young child, or someone with diabetes or cirrhosis are more likely to have complications from ensuing pneumonia.
Complications of pneumonia can include a severe form of respiratory failure called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). A lung abscess is a collection of pus inside or around a lung. Surgery may be required to drain them. A breathing machine or ventilator is required in the event of respiratory failure. Sepsis can occur when the infection enters the bloodstream. Organ failure may result.
Other medical conditions may have similar symptoms to whooping cough. Diagnosis should always be sought from your health care provider.
Infections of the respiratory tract such as whooping cough (pertussis) are highly contagious. An acute hacking cough is often accompanied by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like “whoop.”
It was thought that whooping cough was a childhood disease before the vaccine was developed. In today’s world, whooping cough primarily affects children too young to have received the full course of vaccinations, as well as teenagers and adults whose immunity has waned.
Deaths caused by whooping cough are rare, but most often occur in infants. Pregnant women and others who will have close contact with infants should be vaccinated against whooping cough.
Even though a vaccine against whooping cough has been developed, it still occurs, especially among infants younger than 6 months of age. When you have come into contact with someone who has whooping cough, your doctor may recommend antibiotics to protect against infection, particularly if you are in frequent contact with an at-risk individual or are a health care provider.
Columbia Urgent Care offers treatment for pertussis, so contact us today through our website to get the right medical attention you need. We serve patients from Portland OR, PDX, Happy Valley OR, Tigard OR, Milwaukie OR, Cedar Hills OR, Cedar Mill OR, Lake Oswego OR, Oak Grove OR, Vancouver WA, Aloha OR, Minnehaha WA, Gladstone OR, Tualatin OR, West Linn OR, Fairview OR, Oregon City OR.