A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Whooping Cough

Whooping Cough: Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. In many people, it is marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like "whooping."  Other symptoms include a runny nose, raised temperature and vomiting after coughing. Before the vaccine was developed, whooping cough was considered a childhood disease.

Today, whooping cough primarily affects children too young to have completed the full course of vaccinations, and teenagers and adults whose immunity has faded. Deaths associated with whooping cough are rare but most commonly occur in infants. Whooping cough can be severe in young babies and, in some cases, they may need to be diagnosed and given immediate treatment in hospital.

People with whooping cough are infectious from six days after exposure to the bacteria to three weeks after the "whooping" cough begins. The bacteria is passed from person to person by infected droplets in the air, spread by coughing and sneezing.

It's important to take steps to avoid spreading the infection to others, particularly babies under six months of age. Children with whooping cough should be kept away from school or nursery until either: five days from the time they start taking antibiotics or they have had three weeks of intense coughing. The same advice applies to adults returning to work.

See your doctor as soon as possible if you think you or your child may have whooping cough. Your doctor can usually diagnose the condition by asking about your symptoms and listening to the cough (the whooping cough is very distinctive). 



Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

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