In general infants are fragile, that is because they have a premature immune system that still needs to adapt to the environment that the baby is born into. Any pediatrician will tell you that a cough in an infant should be a cause for alarm and it should not be left to clear on its own as complications may arise from the delay. When then does a parent know if their infant has just a normal cough as opposed to a serious cough like a whooping cough?
What is a Whooping Cough?
A whooping cough also known as Pertussis, is an infection caused by the pertussis bacteria which causes inflammation of the lungs and the air passages, along with affecting the windpipe and thus leading to convulsive and violent coughing episodes in the child.
What are the Whooping Cough symptoms in infants?
The first child will experience normal flu like symptoms, a runny nose, sneezing and the onset of a mild cough. This mild cough will typically last for a week or two before the cough turns into Pertussis. It’s also important to watch the color of your baby during a coughing spell, babies with a whooping cough will turn red or purple as a sign that they are experiencing difficulty breathing.
How do I specifically identify that it’s a Whooping Cough?
What characterizes a whooping cough to be different from other coughs is that the infant will cough, then will gasp for breath in between episodes of coughing. You will then notice that the gasping for breath sound is the one that sounds like a whoop.
Should I be worried?
If you suspect that your infant has a Pertussis, you must take them to the doctor as soon as you possibly can. The reason is that because it presents difficulty with inhaling air into the lungs during the coughing episodes, your infant is most likely to stop breathing, which means the oxygen supply to the brain is cut off, and this may lead to brain damage and even death.
How did my baby get the Whooping Cough?
Due to the fact that this condition h is a contagious bacterial infection, it may have been passed from someone with the bacteria to your child. The way in which it travels from one person to another is through nasal passages and the throat.
How do doctors treat a whooping cough?
Your health practitioner will prescribe a dose of antibiotics like erythromycin for your infant. It’s important to finish the course of antibiotics even if your baby stops coughing as your baby could relapse if they don’t finish the course of antibiotics.
Other Whooping cough medicine for infants:
In most cases than not an infant with a whooping cough will be hospitalized and a dose of corticosteroid may also be intravenously administered. These are steroids which are given to greatly reduce any inflammation around the respiratory tract of the child. Immunization against such problem is the best preventative method used.