Pertussis or a whooping cough is an infectious bacterial disease. Its pathogen spreads through the air with the particles of saliva when the patient coughs and sneezes. Penetrating the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract of a healthy person the virus immediately starts to proliferate in the organism. This disease is especially dangerous to children due to their insufficiently formed immune systemand physiological characteristics of the respiratory system.
The first characteristic symptoms of pertussis appear approximately after two weeks since the infection. Typical symptoms of pertussis are as follows:
- frequent strong attacks of cough that vary from 10 to 50 attacks a day;
- the cough is of a characteristic “barking” nature and is one of the most recognizable signs of pertussis. It reveals like a few sudden attacks of cough during an exhale followed by convulsive breathing accompanied by a whistling sound;
- change of the patient’s appearance during the attack. The patient’s face gets red, there is tension in all muscles, neck veins burst, a tongue involuntarily protrudes, heavy tears and salivation may also emerge;
- convulsions. Due to the lack of oxygen and influence of toxins on the brain centers of a child, convulsions and loss of consciousness may emerge;
- vomiting after coughing is another characteristic symptom of pertussis which almost always occurs in case of this disease;
- repeating cough attacks. They occur in severe cases and the coughing attacks repeat one after the other until the patient is able to push the mucus that filled his airways out.Symptoms of pertussis may occur unexpectedly for parents, often at night. Attacks of cough may be provoked by harsh sounds, bright light, food, physical efforts or emotional stress. A child may feel very frightened during the attack, especially if the child is under 1 year. The state of health of the children between the attacks may be quite satisfactory, but still they are moody, lethargic, eat badly and are not interested in toys.