How Is The Spread Of Pertussis Prevented
- The best way to protect against pertussis is to receive a pertussis-containing vaccine
- Vaccination helps prevent the spread of pertussis and protects people who are not able to get the vaccine
- All vaccines including the ones used to prevent pertussis are safe and effective
- Side effects to the vaccine are mild and only last a few days
- The vaccine is free for NWT residents and is routinely offered to everyone in the NWT according to the NWT Immunization Schedule the schedule is available on the Department of Health and Social Services website
- There are two vaccines approved for use in the NWT that protect against pertussis:
- DTaP-IPV-Hib: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and haemophilus influenza type B that is offered to infants and children under 7 years of age
- Tdap: Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis vaccine that is offered to youth, adults and to pregnant women during each pregnancy
Who Is At Risk Of Whooping Cough
Anyone of any age can catch whooping cough. Some groups have a higher risk.
- people who have not been vaccinated against whooping cough
- people who have not received a whooping cough booster vaccine in the past 10 years
- babies under 6 months old because they are not old enough to get vaccinated
- people living in the same house as someone with whooping cough
Whooping cough is most dangerous for babies. Most hospitalisations and deaths from whooping cough happen in babies who are not old enough to receive all the vaccine doses.
If you or your child has had close contact with someone who has whooping cough, speak to your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to reduce your chance of becoming infected. This is important for young children, people at high risk of health problems and those likely to pass the infection to children.
Whooping cough is a notifiable condition. This means that your doctor needs to tell the local health authorities about the cases they see. It is important for local health authorities to know about whooping cough in the community, so they can help control an outbreak.
How Whooping Cough Spreads
People with whooping cough are infectious from six days after exposure to the bacterium to three weeks after the ‘whooping’ cough begins.
The Bordetella pertussis bacterium is carried in droplets of moisture in the air. When someone with whooping cough sneezes or coughs, they propel hundreds of infected droplets into the air. If the droplets are breathed in by someone else, the bacterium will infect their airways.
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Care For Your Child At Home
If your child is at home with whooping cough, then:
- keep them at home until they’ve been on antibiotics for 5 days or they feel well again
- make sure they rest and drink lots of fluids
- don’t worry if they don’t feel like eating much
- give them liquid paracetamol or ibuprofen to bring down their high temperature
- don’t give them cough medicine – it’s not suitable for young children
What Can I Do To Prevent Whooping Cough
The best way to prevent whooping cough is to be vaccinated with pertussis vaccine. However, even vaccinated individuals can develop pertussis infection. Vaccinated individuals who develop whooping cough frequently exhibit a much milder cough , no whooping, no vomiting, and sometimes only cough at night.
If you are exposed to a patient with whooping cough, your doctor may treat you with an antibiotic to decrease your chance of developing the infection.
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Do I Need To See A Doctor If I Think I Have Whooping Cough
Yes. Based on your history of exposure to an infected patient, your symptoms, and the physical examination, your doctor may obtain a culture of your throat and start antibiotics if he/she thinks you have pertussis.
If someone in the family has been diagnosed with whooping cough, the entire family should be treated with antibiotics as a preventive measure.
Questions about whooping cough can be addressed by public health nurses at the Hamilton County Public Health by calling 513.946.7887.
When Should I See My Doctor If I Have Whooping Cough
You should see your doctor if you think you or your child has whooping cough. This is to make sure you receive a diagnosis and the correct treatment.
Getting a professional diagnosis helps you get the right treatment and protects your household and close contacts. It may give health authorities important information about infections in the community.
If you or your child has trouble breathing call 000 immediately this is an emergency.
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How Is Pertussis Treated
Treatment for pertussis is easily available and highly encouraged. If started early, it can help reduce severity, duration and the risk of complications, particularly in infants. So, once a diagnosis is made or suspected exposure has been determined, you should start on antibiotics immediately. Several antibiotics are available to treat pertussis. The most popular are azithromycin, clarithromycin and erythromycin.
If you have had pertussis for three weeks or more, antibiotics will not be prescribed because the bacteria are already gone from your body. At this point, your symptoms will slowly improve on their own, but your doctor will want to address any other damage done to your body while you were sick.
Supportive care, such as plenty of rest and fluids, can ease symptoms. Eating small, frequent meals can help prevent vomiting. It may also be helpful to rid your home of any irritants that could trigger coughing, such as smoke, dust and chemical fumes. Unfortunately, not much can be done for the cough, as over-the-counter cough medicine is ineffective, and its use is strongly discouraged.
In severe cases, hospitalization may be needed to treat complications. Infants are at the greatest risk of developing severe complications with about half of babies under one year needing to be hospitalized.
Tetanus & Reduced Diphtheria Toxoids/ Acellular Pertussis Vaccine
Promotes active immunity to diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis by inducing the production of specific neutralizing antibodies and antitoxins. It is indicated for active booster immunization for persons aged 10 or older . It is the preferred vaccine for adolescents scheduled for a booster vaccination.
Robinson CL, Romero JR, Kempe A, Pellegrini C, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Child/Adolescent Immunization Work Group. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children and Adolescents Aged 18 Years or Younger – United States, 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Feb 10. 66 :134-135. . .
Kim DK, Riley LE, Harriman KH, Hunter P, Bridges CB. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Recommended Immunization Schedule for Adults Aged 19 Years or Older – United States, 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Feb 10. 66 :136-138. .
Outbreaks of respiratory illness mistakenly attributed to pertussis–New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Tennessee, 2004-2006. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2007 Aug 24. 56:837-42. .
Marconi GP, Ross LA, Nager AL. An upsurge in pertussis: epidemiology and trends. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2012 Mar. 28:215-9. .
Walsh PF, Kimmel L, Feola M, Tran T, Lim C, De Salvia L, et al. Prevalence of Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis in infants presenting to the emergency department with bronchiolitis. J Emerg Med. 2011 Mar. 40:256-61. .
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Tests For Whooping Cough
Your doctor will know if you have the diseases by determining if you have been exposed to it. This is made possible by doing a:
- History of typical signs and symptoms
- Physical examination
- Laboratory test which involves taking a sample of mucus from the back of the throat through the nose
If the infection is resistant to treatment with any of these, other antibiotics like trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole may be prescribed. Your doctor may also want to treat other close contacts with the same antibiotics regardless of whether they are immunized. While these medicines can help treat the infection, they dont prevent or treat the coughing.
It is not advisable to use cough medicines if you suspect a case of pertussis as they dont have any effect on the infection and may cause harmful side effects on children.
Your doctor may suggest using a humidifier in your childs bedroom to keep the air moist and help improve symptoms of whooping cough. Other supportive remedies include drinking plenty of fluids, soups, juices, etc. to prevent dehydration. Taking small and frequent meals may help to prevent vomiting.
You should free your home of irritants like smoke, dust, and fumes that can lead to coughing.
How Is Pertussis Spread
- Pertussis is easily spread through droplets in the air due to coughing or sneezing by an infected person
- Pertussis can be spread by sharing food, drinks, toys, cigarettes, kissing or through touching objects like countertops and doorknobs
- Pertussis can be spread in the early stages of the infection when symptoms are not severe, and can continue to be spread for up to3 weeks after the cough starts if not treated with antibiotics,
- You are no longer considered contagious after 5 days of taking an appropriate antibiotic prescribed by a health care provider
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Stop The Spread To Others
Whooping cough is highly contagious. You can pass it to others from the time you notice the first symptoms, like a runny nose, low-grade fever, and sneezing.
You stay contagious until you’ve taken 5 days of antibiotics. Doctors recommend giving antibiotics to everyone who lives with you to keep them from getting the infection.
You can help keep germs from spreading to others if you wash your hands frequently, wipe down surfaces like countertops and sinks often, and wear a mask to cover your cough when it’s at its worst.
Keep in mind that even if your friends and loved ones had the vaccine for whooping cough as kids, it loses strength over time. Doctors recommend adults ages 19 to 65 get a booster shot to strengthen your defenses. You should also get the Tdap booster if you’re going to be around babies under 1 year old.
Talk to your doctor about whether you need a letter for your manager at work to excuse you for rest and recovery. Not only will this help you get better sooner, it will give the antibiotics longer to rid your body of the bacteria that could spread to others.
Side Effects Of The Whooping Cough Vaccine
The whooping cough vaccine is very safe. The most common side effects that babies experience are:
- pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
- irritability and increased crying
- being off colour or having a fever
Read more about side effects of the 5-in-1 vaccine.
If your child has a problem with their immune system, speak to your doctor for advice about vaccination. Babies with mild coughs or colds can still have the vaccine.
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Original Articleantimicrobial Treatment Of Pertussis
Patients with culture-positive pertussis in the paroxysmal state of the disease were treated with ampicillin, oxytetracycline, chloramphenicol, or erythromycin. No significant difference was noted in the subsequent course of illness when compared with that in untreated control patients. Ampicillin-treated patients remained culture positive for periods comparable to that in untreated control patients. Treatment with erythromycin, oxytetracycline, or chloramphenicol eliminated pertussis organisms from patients within a few days. Treatment with one of these drugs may thus render patients with pertussis, noninfectious. For this purpose, erythromycin appears to be the most effective of the 3 drugs studied. This drug may also be effective in prophylaxis against pertussis in exposed susceptible individuals, and in aborting or attenuating the illness when given to patients in the early preparoxysmal stage of the disease. Patients treated with pertussis hyperimmune globulin were compared with patients who were not but who had otherwise comparable treatment. There was no significant difference in the subsequent clinical course of illness or the time lapse before disappearance of pertussis organisms from the nasopharynx in the two groups.
Check If You Or Your Child Has Whooping Cough
The first signs of whooping cough are like a cold.
After about a week, you or your child:
- will get coughing bouts that last for a few minutes and are worse at night
- will make a “whoop” sound a gasp for breath between coughs
- may bring up a thick mucus, which can make you sick
- may become very red in the face
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Temporary Immunity After Getting Sick
People who have had whooping cough have some natural immunity to future whooping cough infections. Getting sick with whooping cough doesnt provide lifelong protection.
CDC recommends whooping cough vaccination even if you have had the disease before, since natural immunity fades and does not offer lifelong protection.
Can I Have The Whooping Cough Vaccine If Im Pregnant
Pertussis-containing vaccines are safe for pregnant women. They should receive the whooping cough vaccination between 20 and 32 weeks to boost their protection against whooping cough. Vaccination at this stage of pregnancy means the mother passes on whooping cough antibodies to their growing baby. This gives the baby protection after birth even before they are old enough to get immunised.
If you or your partner are pregnant, ask your doctor or midwife about getting vaccinated.
Partners, grandparents, carers and other adults who have contact with babies should have the whooping cough vaccine.
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How To Avoid Passing On The Infection
Whooping cough is highly infectious, so if you or your child have it, it is important to stay away from others until the bacterium has completely cleared.
The affected person should stay at home until they have completed a five-day course of antibiotics from their doctor, or had intense bouts of coughing for three weeks .
Although bouts of coughing may continue after three weeks, it is unlikely you will still be infectious because the bacterium will have gone.
Preventative treatment may be recommended for members of your household known to be vulnerable to the effects of infection .
Vulnerable contacts include:
- young children under the age of 12 months who have not received the complete course of the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine
- children under the age of 10 who have not been vaccinated
- women in the last month of pregnancy
- people with a weakened immune system, such as people with
Preventative treatment is also usually recommended if a household member works in a healthcare, social care or childcare facility as they could pass the infection on to other vulnerable contacts
Preventative treatment usually involves a short course of antibiotics, and in some cases, a booster dose of the vaccine.
What Are The Symptoms
The symptoms associated with whooping cough progress in three distinct stages. During the first stage, called the catarrhal phase, the infected individual may develop a runny nose, teary eyes, a feeling of weakness and a low-grade fever. The first stage of infection lasts from several days to as long as several weeks. Symptoms during this stage are indistinguishable from a viral infection. The only reason to suspect whooping cough in an individual with these symptoms is if the individual was known to have been exposed to someone with documented whooping cough.
Late during the first stage a dry, nonproductive cough develops. The cough signals the onset of the second or paroxysmal phase of the infection. During this stage the cough becomes progressively worse and is characterized by repeated violent coughs without intervening inhalation, followed by a gasp for air that produces the characteristic high pitched whoop. Theepisode of coughing may be so severe that the individual becomes flushed, the eyes appear to bulge, and the tongue protrudes.
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When To Call The Doctor
This is especially important if your child has long coughing spells and:
- the coughing make your child’s skin or lips turn red, purple, or blue
- your child vomits after coughing
- there’s a whooping sound after the cough
- your child has trouble breathing or seems to have brief periods of not breathing
- your child seems very sluggish
If your child has been diagnosed with whooping cough and is being treated at home, get immediate medical care if he or she develops difficulty breathing or shows signs of dehydration.
How Will My Doctor Know If I Have Whooping Cough
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and if you have been in contact with someone who has whooping cough. They will listen to your breathing.
If the doctor thinks you may have whooping cough, they might tell you to have some tests. The tests include a nose or throat swab or a blood test. These tests can help work out if you have whooping cough.
It is best to have these tests when your symptoms first start. Do not delay going to your doctor if you think you have whooping cough.
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Antibiotics For Cough From Other Causes
While its not likely that youll be prescribed antibiotics for bronchitis, it is possible that youll need antibiotics for an incessant cough caused by another bacteria.
An infection called whooping cough is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis and can cause a lingering cough. Luckily, its prevented in most cases by the pertussis vaccine, which has reduced whooping cough infections drastically.
If you havent been vaccinated against whooping cough , its possible a cough could be caused by the pertussis bacteria.
The symptoms of pertussis are very similar to those of bronchitis. They include initial cold-like symptoms, including:
- A sniffly, runny nose
- A mild, occasional cough
- Unusual pauses in breathing
In pertussis, especially in those who havent been vaccinated, these symptoms worsen and develop into unusual coughing fits with an accompanying high-pitched whoop sound. This usually happens one to two weeks after the initial infection.
These coughing fits can cause exhaustion and vomiting, and can last a long timeup to 10 weeks or more.
Pertussis infections are treated with antibiotics, and early treatment is essential to ease symptoms and prevent the spread of the disease.
Also, try to stay away from others, especially those too young to be vaccinated. Whooping cough is extremely dangerous to infants.
Antibiotics commonly prescribed to treat pertussis include: