Whooping Cough Treatment

For babies less than a year old, whooping cough also known as Pertussis, remains a dangerous illness. It is a medical condition characterized by violent coughing episodes that are punctuated with a whooping sound made while breathing air. The coughing caused in this disease is very intense and does not go away easily. Up until 2012, whooping cough had largely been wiped out with the help of vaccination and there were hardly any cases reported of it, but all that has changed now. Therefore, knowing the proper and effective whooping cough treatment is of great importance.

What Are the Symptoms of Whooping Cough?

For better understanding of whooping cough treatment, the first step is to know the symptoms. The symptoms of whooping are different in children than in adults. The symptoms of the disease appear in children in three separate stages.

1. In the First Stage

The symptoms of whooping cough resemble the symptoms of a cold. The child might sneeze and have a mild fever and some coughing. His eyes would seem watery and there is chance of having a runny nose. These symptoms can last for about two weeks and a child is most likely to spread the disease to others during this stage.  

2. In the Second Stage

The symptoms of cold subside, but the coughing becomes more pronounced and violent. The cough becomes a lot rougher and the child starts producing a whooping sound when trying to breathe. Coughing episodes in this stage are often followed by vomiting. These symptoms persist for about 4 weeks and can be severely taxing on the child.

3. In the Third Stage

The child begins to feel a little better, but he still has the symptoms. The coughing episodes might be less frequent in this stage, but the coughing would become louder. This stage can go on for several weeks if the child has not received immunization for this disease. 

Look for more information about the symptoms of whooping cough? Check out the video below:

 When to Call a Doctor

You must consult your physician immediately if you are concerned that your child might have contracted whopping cough from someone and is starting to show symptoms of the disease irrespective of whether he has been vaccinated for Pertussis or not.   

The child must be given immediate medical care if he/she has had a very long coughing fit which:

  • Turns the color of the skin or his lips blue, red or purple
  • End up in vomiting
  • Is followed by whooping sounds whenever the child tries to breathe
  • Makes it hard for the child to breath at all
  • Makes the child passive.

You must call your doctor if your child starts having difficulty in breathing or looks dehydrated, especially in cases when the diagnosis of whooping cough has already been made by your child’s physician and you are treating him at home.   

What Causes Whooping Cough?

Bordetella Pertussis is the bacteria to be blamed for causing whooping cough. This bacterial infection is highly contagious and can easily spread from one person to another. This means that if a family member has been exposed to the infection, then other members of the family including babies will all fall prey to it unless they have received the necessary immunization for it or have had the disease earlier.

Immunization for whooping cough is considered very important in babies because it is among those diseases against which babies have no natural protection. Even the breastfed babies who remain safe from most infections have no defense against whooping cough.

Since it is a contagious disease, infants, newborns and expecting mothers must be kept well from people or children who are suffering from this cough, especially those children who have not received the necessary vaccination for whooping cough.          

What Are the Proper Whooping Cough Treatments?

1. Medical Whooping Cough Treatment

Antibiotics are seen as the ideal treatment method for whooping cough in both adults and babies. Usually a blood test is performed to confirm the presence of the bacteria in the child, but if the symptoms are obvious, the doctor might start treatment immediately.

The age of the child determines the treatment plan for whooping cough. Children below the age of six months are admitted directly into the hospital and given immediate medical care since they are more at risk of developing lifer threatening complications like brain damage and pneumonia.

Younger babies are usually given the antibiotics intravenously along with steroids to expand his congested airways. If he is having trouble breathing then oxygen is also provided. Older children on the other hand are given antibiotics orally.

The sooner the antibiotics are administered, the sooner your child is going to start showing signs of recovery. However, the antibiotics will only eliminate the bacteria in your child’s mucus and will not do much for his cough. The coughing will subside with time though in a few weeks. You can give your child paracetamol to ease his pain, but only in the right dose. If the coughing becomes more aggressive then you must call your doctor immediately.      

2. Home Remedies

  • When treating a child with Pertussis at home, it is essential to follow the exact schedule of antibiotics that have been prescribed by your child’s physician.
  • Cough medications must be avoided at all costs during home treatment of whooping cough, as they can cause harmful side effects and are not very effective in stopping the cough either.
  • Give your child plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and give him short meals multiple times throughout the day to keep his strength up.
  • Place the child in a clean room and install a cool-mist vaporizer so that the child can breathe easily.      

How to Prevent Whooping Cough

Since it is a contagious disease, preventing the spreading of infection of whooping cough is extremely important as well. Babies in nursery are the most susceptible to get infected and thus have to be protected. Therefore, it is necessary that you keep your child away from the nursery unless he has received immunization for whooping cough. However, children over one year old can be admitted to the nursery even if they have not been vaccinated.