Should You Call A Home Doctor? The Signs of Whooping Cough
Posted: Mar 23, 2019
When it’s 4 AM and your baby is coughing and gasping for air. She’s just had a cold, but this doesn’t look or sound normal. Should you call a home doctor? Is it whooping cough and is it serious?
What is Whooping Cough?
Pertussis or as it is more commonly known, whooping cough is a bacterial respiratory infection. It causes a dry cough and other symptoms similar to the common cold, so it can go undetected initially. You may notice your little one has a runny nose, followed by mild coughing, sneezing, and a low grade fever. When the coughing persists and continues to worsen after a week, it could be whooping cough, and this can be dangerous for infants.
The Signs of Whooping Cough
Whooping cough in an infant may not look and sound the same as it does in adults or older children. Your little one may cough so much they vomit and gasp for air after each coughing spell. This is where the danger is for infants with whooping cough. Infants need to be carefully and continually watched to ensure that they don’t stop breathing. Whooping cough is particularly dangerous for infants under the age of six months, and if you suspect your baby may have whooping cough, you need to visit the emergency room or call a home doctor immediately.
How Long Will Whooping Cough Last?
Typically, whooping cough will run its course in four to five weeks, but symptoms may take up to six weeks to recede. The symptoms of whooping cough tend to last the longest in adults. The whooping cough bacteria enters the airways and follows the pathways to the lungs. They attach themselves to the minuscule hairs on the lung lining and once attached they are very persistent. Shaking them loose can take weeks of coughing. So, whooping cough can be unpleasant for older children and adults to endure.
It takes seven to ten days after exposure to exhibit symptoms. There are three stages of whooping cough symptoms. The first stage can last one to weeks with symptoms similar to the common cold, but you will be highly contagious during this period. Stage two involves the development of violent, severe coughing spells that can last up to six weeks. You will remain infectious for as long as two weeks after you develop the cough. In stage three the cough will begin to lessen. While you’ll no longer be contagious for two to three weeks, you will be more susceptible to other respiratory infections.
Fortunately, there is a whooping cough vaccine. The bacteria can transmit easily through sneezing and coughing, so if you are not vaccinated, you need to be careful to avoid anyone who has developed the illness. Antibiotics can lessen the symptoms and shorten the run time, so if you suspect anyone in your family has developed whooping cough, it is a good idea to contact a home doctor.
If you are in need of a home doctor, Perth residents should call us. We have an experienced home doctor team and would be happy to address any of your queries or concerns.
If you would like further guidance to improve your health and wellbeing from an after hours GP, Perth residents should call us.