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What Exactly Is Whooping Cough?

Learn more about pertussis and its warning signs. 

Whooping cough is an extremely contagious respiratory infection that most often occurs in babies under 6 months old; however, this infection can also occur in those who are ages 11-18 as well. While symptoms of whooping cough are similar to other respiratory infections, it’s important to be able to differentiate between them so that you can turn to our Ocala, FL, pediatricians, Dr. Shahab Eunus and Dr. Mamatha Sandu, for immediate treatment.

Early Signs of Whooping Cough 

In the beginning stages of pertussis, your child may develop a low-grade fever, runny nose, and minor cough. Once symptoms develop, in about 1-2 weeks your child’s cough will progress. Their coughing fits may last for more than a minute at a time.

At this point in time, you will likely notice a “whooping” sound when your child breathes. Sometimes coughing may be so severe that it induces vomiting. Infants may not develop these same coughing fits, but they may look as if they are gasping for air. These coughing fits can last up to 3 months.

When to See a Doctor 

If your child is developing a severe cough, it’s important that you turn to our Ocala, FL, children’s doctor for care. When you bring your child in for a checkup, your pediatrician will go through your child’s medical history before performing a physical exam in which they examine the throat and nose. A sample will be taken from the throat in order to test. A blood test and x-ray may also be necessary to make a diagnosis.

Treating Whooping Cough 

This infection is treated with a round of antibiotics. When caught early antibiotics may actually shorten your child’s infection. Of course, antibiotics are effective no matter how much the infection has progressed. Severe symptoms may require hospitalization, particularly in infants and young children.

Make sure you follow all the medication’s instructions. Your child should also rest as much as possible and stay hydrated. Symptoms may be relieved with a vaporizer. Make sure to avoid certain irritants (e.g. smoking; fireplaces) that could exacerbate coughing spells.

Concerned? Give Us a Call

If you are looking for a pediatrician in Ocala, FL, who can provide your child with the preventive care and medical treatment that they need, then call Kid’s Health Alliance today at (352) 237-5400.

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