Treatment for Whooping Cough in Babies

As parent you should watch closely to the symptoms of Whooping Cough in your Babies so that you can give treatment as soon as possible, check your baby to doctor soon to get accurate guidelines of medical treatments.

What is whooping cough?


Whooping cough or pertussis is a bacterial infection of the lungs and respiratory tract that is easily transmitted. Actually, whooping cough beside it can affect babies and toddlers can also affects adults, but the disease can be life threatening if they occur in the elderly and children, especially children who are not old enough to get a pertussis vaccine.

Treatment for Whooping Cough in Babies


The Fact about Whooping Cough in Babies


CDC Reported that since 2010, there are 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States. In fact, there are cases reported in every state. 2012 was a record year with more than 48,000 cases. Most of the deaths each year are in babies younger than 3 months of age.
(National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, 2016. www.cdc.gov)

This disease has the characteristics of continuous barrage of harsh cough that begins with long breaths through the mouth (whoop). A person can suffer from whooping cough for up to three months, so the disease is also commonly called "hundred-day cough".

Whooping cough can decrease of oxygen level in blood. Moreover, it can trigger a variety of complications, such as pneumonia. Even, people with whooping cough can inadvertently injure their ribs as coughing very hard.

Whooping cough can spread quickly from person to person. Therefore, the pertussis vaccine is needed to prevent a person exposed to whooping cough.

Symptoms of Whooping Cough

Generally, the symptoms of whooping cough will appear between 7 days to 21 days after the Bordetella pertussis bacteria enter the person's respiratory system. 

The development of whooping cough symptoms are divided into three stages, especially in babies and young children:

First stage (during the early symptoms): the emergence of mild symptoms such as runny and stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, sore throat, mild cough, and fever. This stage can last up to two weeks and at this stage that people have a risk of spreading pertussis to those around them.

Second stage (paroxysmal period): This stage is marked by the easing of all the symptoms of flu, but coughing actually got worse, and uncontrollable. In this phase occurs continuously loud cough that begins long breaths through the mouth (whoop). After coughing, the patient may experience vomiting (usually in babies and children) as well as the body suffers fatigue. This stage can last from two to four weeks or more.

Third stage (healing period): this is the stage of the patient's body began to improve, but the symptoms of whooping cough persists even patient may cough louder. The recovery phase can last up to two months or more depending on the medication.

Here are a few conditions of Whooping Cough  that must be immediately addressed to the doctor:
  • Baby of 0-6 months old and looked very ill.
  • Your baby is difficult to breath.
  • the child has serious complications, such as seizures or pneumonia.
  • Wheezes when breathing.
  • Vomiting caused severe whooping cough.
  • The body becomes reddened or blue.

What causes whooping cough?

Bordetella pertussis bacteria that spreads through the air is the cause of whooping cough attack on children. These bacteria enter and then invade the wall of the trachea and bronchi (branching trachea that leads to the right lung and the left).

Swelling airways is one way the body reacts to infection by bacteria. The airways swell can make the patient must inhale strongly through the mouth because of breathing difficulties. The result of the strong breath is what causes the long whooping sound.

Another body reaction when the bacteria infect the airway wall is to produce thick mucus. The body will stimulate the whooping cough in trying to pull out the thick mucus.

Complications of Whooping Cough

People with whooping cough were at higher risk of complications are babies and children. Complications that may occur in children and adults are:
  • Breath falter.
  • Dehydration and weight loss due to excessive vomiting.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Having a seizure.
  • Brain damage due to lack of oxygen supply to the brain.
  • Kidney failure.

Complications occurred in infants under the age of six months could endanger lives, and they need immediate medical attention at a hospital.

Diagnosis Whooping Cough

Whooping cough at an early stage is quite difficult to diagnose, because the flu or bronchitis have symptoms that are similar. Usually doctor will observe the symptoms of cough in patients and listen to examine the sound produced by a cough, the doctor will able to diagnose whooping cough.

Doctors also can add other checks, namely:
Blood tests. The doctor will identify an increase in white blood cells. Also for the bacteria Bordetella pertussis antibodies in the blood of patients.

Sampling of mucus from the nose or throat. The doctor will examine whether the patient mucus contains bacteria Bordetella pertussis.

X-ray imaging objective is to see whether the lung suffers an inflammation or a buildup of fluid. This condition can arise when whooping cough had complications with pneumonia or other respiratory tract infections.

How to prevent whooping cough

Pertussis Vaccination is the best way to prevent whooping cough. Usually doctors give pertussis vaccine together with diphtheria, tetanus, polio (DPT vaccine) and Hib.

The following is a schedule of vaccination for pertussis:
At the age of two months.
At the age of 4 months.
At the age of 6 months.
At the age of 1.5 to 2 years.
At the age of 5 years.

The pertussis vaccine is very safe, but there are some side effects that arise after vaccination, such as pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Possible baby will also become irritable, fever, and often cry.

Who should get the whooping cough vaccine?
Pregnant women also need to be vaccinated against pertussis. Getting pertussis vaccination during pregnancy helps protect babies suffering from whooping cough in the first weeks after birth. 

Pertussis vaccination will be offered to all pregnant women when their gestational age between 28-38 weeks. If you want to get a pertussis vaccination during pregnancy, consult your gynecologist.

In addition to pregnant women and children, pertussis vaccination additional (booster) must be given due protection function tends to weaken. This additional vaccinations can be given as:

Youth. Weakened immune pertussis vaccine will begin when a person aged 11 years. So that age is a great time to get a pertussis booster vaccination.

Adult. Some types of tetanus and diphtheria vaccines are given regularly every 10 years also have a function to protect against whooping cough. Vaccines of this type also reduce your risk of transmitting pertussis to babies.

To avoid the spread of whooping cough, the patient should rest home to complete the dosage of antibiotics the doctor. People who frequently interact with patients should be given preventive measures to avoid contagion. Precautions against whooping cough include antibiotics. The doctor also can provide booster pertussis vaccine.

People who are prone to contracting whooping cough are:
  • Pregnant woman during the last trimester of pregnancy.
  • Newborn baby.
  • Childen younger than 1 year and not getting complete DPT vaccination.
  • People with weak immune systems.
  • People who suffer from chronic diseases such as asthma or heart failure.
  • Children aged under 10 years who have not been vaccinated against DPT.


In addition, there are groups who are vulnerable to transmit, workers health facilities, social care, and child care. These people also need to be given a precaution.

Treatment for whooping cough

Infants and children who have whooping cough will be placed in isolation to prevent the spread of infection. The main treatment of whooping cough is by given antibiotics to fight the bacteria causing the infection. 

Corticosteroids given to treat inflammation in the airways. Both antibiotics and corticosteroids can be given intravenously. Okasigen lid can be provided to assist breathing.

babies and children with severe whooping cough can cause damage to their lungs. Special treatment in hospital will concentrate on the use of breathing apparatus (ventilation) and the provision of drugs to control their blood pressure with drugs.

In more severe conditions, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) procedure will be done, where oxygen should be fed into the body without passing through the lungs. This procedure will be given if other techniques are not successful and lungs already suffered considerable damage.



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