Pertussis also commonly known as Whooping Cough is an infection which affects the respiratory system. This infection can be found in adults, small children and even infants and is caused by bacteria named Bordetella pertussis. This infection is characterized by severe coughing ending with a whooping sound when the person breathes in.
A person will start to develop the whooping cough symptoms within six to eight days after being affected by the bacteria. This time period is known as the incubation period. Rapid and continuous coughing makes the person feel tired and thrown away.
Pertussis can be very dangerous for small babies and can lead to pneumonia, apnea (pause while breathing), loss of appetite, brain damage and in some cases might even result in death.For early detection of the infection, it is very essential to know the symptoms which can lead to this disease.
Common Symptoms Of Pertussis
Catarrhal or Early Stage Symptoms
Catarrhal Stage is the first stage of the infection. The early symptoms of the infection are somewhat similar to those of the symptoms of a common cold. The symptoms of the first stage may persist for 1 to 2 weeks. The early symptoms usually includes-
Blocked or Runny Nose
This is one of the first and foremost common symptoms of Pertussis. In this case the infected person suffers from a runny nose or a blocked nose all the time.
You will notice that a person affected by Pertussis starts to sneeze continuously in the same manner as in case of common cold. Also watering of eyes increases to a great extent.
The infected person will start experiencing spell of rapid cough which may even last for longerfor more than a minute or so accompanied with some thick sputum.
A person suffering from Pertussis might have a fever but generally fever is mild and is just limited to the first few days only.
Paroxysmal or Second Stage Symptoms
The second stage of Pertussis also known as the Paroxysmal stage is characterized by burst of intense cough, vomiting, apnea, exhaustionand whooping breathing sound. This stage generally lasts for one to six weeks or in some cases may persist for even a longer period. The symptoms which can be associated with this stage includes
Intense burst of coughing
During the paroxysmal stage of the disease, you will notice people suffering from intense and rapid burst of coughing with thick phlegm. This is a well-known symptom of late pertussis. The rapid cough spell might last for one or two minutes. The number of bouts people experience every day varies from 13 – 15.
Another common symptom associated with Pertussis is vomiting immediately after coughing. Infants and small children especially vomit after coughing.
Children suffering from the disease may witness Apnea which is pause while breathing. During an intense bad coughing spell, infants sometimes may stop breathing for a few seconds which may even be dangerous sometimes.
People often get exhausted after a bad cough spell and start feeling weak and tired. You may notice the face of the people suffering from pertussis turns red after coughing.
Whooping Breathing Sound
After coughing, the person starts to breathe ending with a whoop sound. Although infants and small children do not make the whoop sound, they start gasping.
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