Whooping Cough in Children
Introduction of whooping cough in children
Cough can simply be defined as to exhale abruptly. This is body’s natural reflect when there is congestion or irritation in the throat or respiratory track. In other words, cough is the reaction of the body in response to some substances hose are irritable and tend to block the pathway that carries air that we breathe in from our nose or mouth to the lungs.
Cough is very common problem that affects everyone including animals. It is generally considered as a simple problem, but when it is a significant symptom of some underlying major disease, it creates severe damage to the human body. In children, the more severe form is whooping cough. This is also known as pertussis. The most prominent symptoms of whooping cough in children are distinctive and uncontrollable coughing that can stop your child’s breath for a while. The cough is generally followed by a sharp, high-pitched intake of an air and this intake of air creates the characteristic that sounds like ‘whoop’ for which the disease is named after.
Causes of whooping cough in children
Whooping cough is caused by a bacterium called Bortadella pertussis. This bacterium, when inhaled, gets attached to cilia that are present in the respiratory tract. Cilia are minute, hair-like projections on cells that beat back and forth constantly in the respiratory tracts all the time. This motion of cilia helps clearing the respiratory tract from bacteria, viruses and other irritants and microorganisms.
Bortadella pertussis interferes the mechanism and functionality of the cilia. When these materials get cleared away from the cilia, they become lodged in the respiratory tract and cough those results in the body’s natural way of attempting to get rid of these irritants.
The bacteria are generally carried in droplets of water coughed into the air by an infected child or a person. The incubation period (the time when bacteria are ingested into the body to the symptoms present for the first time) could be 2-5 days.
Symptoms of whooping cough in children
Symptoms begin with simple cough. The disease is often mis-diagnosed for a bad cold or a routine cough. The child has teary eyes, fatigue, sneezing, loss of appetite and running nose is common in all. The severity gets increased by second or third week of continuous cough. The cough is said to be caused by inflammation of the respiratory system and therefore, breathing tubes become narrowed. This makes the breathing difficult for a child and he or she cannot get enough oxygen that meets the body’s requirement. Result of that, the child bends forwards and tries to get more air. The child has labored breathing and often runs to the windows to get more fresh air.
There will be severe exhaustion during the third stage of the whooping cough. Due to breathing problem, child may get bluish coloration of the skin due to improper and insufficient supply of the oxygen to the body cells.
Complications of whooping cough in children
There can be serious complications following the untreated or improperly treated whooping cough. One of the dangerous is the brain damage because of lack of oxygen supply to the brain. The violent shaking caused by coughing can also bring physical damage to the brain and due to that, seizures may be seen in some cases.
Another rare and common in adult’s complication is hernia. The force that coughs puts on to the abdomen and related organs can protrude the body organs outside their framework and can cause the hernia. Other complications may include pneumonia, respiratory blockage and many more. <
Diagnosis and treatment of whooping cough in children
Whooping cough can be difficult to diagnose. However, symptoms and sound of the cough can get you the picture of the disease. The clear diagnosis can be ruled about by taking throat culture. A cotton swab is wiped across the back of the child’s mouth and it is examined under microscope. The bacterial culture shows positive results for presence of Pertussis bacteria and so confirms the diagnosis. Chest X-Ray and blood culture may show alteration according to the severity of the disease.
The treatment is vaccination as the prevention is always better then cures. Get your child vaccinated properly against the whooping cough. Non-vaccinated child are susceptible to have whooping cough and they are treated with high antibiotics along with certain cough-suppressants and mucolytic syrups.
Ayurveda believes this to be ‘kaasa’ and certain herbs like kantakari, haridra, aadrak, bhringaraja, manahshila, pushkarmoola can be very helpful in these conditions. You can go for any of the formula containing above herbs or can go for the mixture of all the above said herbs’ powder. Other medications that develop the immunity in children may also help in such conditions.
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