The whooping cough disease also known as Pertussis is a very contagious disease that starts like a common cold before developing into severe coughing after one to two weeks. However, unlike the common cold, whooping cough usually causes violent and rapid coughing that repeatedly happens until the air is gone from the lungs forcing you to inhale with a loud whooping sound. It is also imperative to note that some babies suffering from the whooping cough condition may not cough at all as it causes them to stop breathing.
A child suffering from the whooping cough disease will have a runny or stuffed-up nose, mild cough, sneezing and a pause in breathing especially in infants. After one to two weeks, the coughing may become severe. Other more serious symptoms may also develop such as coughing very hard, gasping for breath after a coughing fit, difficulty, eating, breathing, sleeping and drinking because of the coughing fits, and vomiting after coughing fits. A child may also turn blue while coughing due to lack of oxygen. The coughing fits can last up to 10 weeks.
It is important for every parent to learn how to prevent whooping cough in children as it can be deadly. The condition may cause children below the age of one to develop pneumonia, suffer brain damage, and have seizures or even death. In fact, between 2000 and 2014 there were 277 recorded deaths in the United States with 241 deaths being of babies less than three months old.
How to prevent whooping cough in children
There are several ways you can prevent and protect your children from pertussis.
1. Get a whooping cough vaccine while pregnant
Getting a whooping cough shot during your pregnancy will help protect yourself and the baby from the condition. It is recommended that you get the vaccine between the 27th and 36th week of your pregnancy. This will allow your body to create antibodies and pass some to your baby before birth. The antibodies will protect your baby from the disease during the early life when the baby cannot be vaccinated.
2. Make sure everyone around your children is vaccinated
Your children can catch the disease from the parents, grandparents and older brothers and sisters as well as friends who do not know they have the condition. An infected person can spread the condition from when it has cold-like symptoms and for at least two weeks after the coughing starts. Ensuring people who will get into contact with your children are vaccinated will help protect your child.
3. Get the child vaccinated
You should get your baby vaccinated and keep the vaccine current as the child grows. You should note that the vaccine does not provide lifelong protection and thus, you should always ensure that the vaccine is up to date.