Over the past decades, pertussis treatment has changed significantly. The number of complications and deaths has decreased. Basically, it takes place in light or erased forms. This is due to the fact that pertussis vaccine is included in a routine vaccination. However, even now, whooping cough among babies up to 6 months remains a serious threat and in many cases leads to complications.
Treatment of pertussis in children may vary slightly. If the disease was diagnosed in the first weeks of its occurrence, an antibiotic is prescribed, usually erythromycin. This drug copes well with the virus and can even stop the disease before the onset of spasmodic coughing. If the treatment of whooping cough started in the spasmodic period, taking antibiotics will not alleviate the patient’s condition and will not affect the frequency and duration of the attacks. They are appointed only in order to make the child not infectious.
At this stage of the disease, as a rule, protivokashlevye means that facilitate the discharge of sputum, but they, unfortunately, are not able to significantly improve the well-being of the child. In addition to them, anti-allergic drugs are often prescribed; in addition to their direct prescription, they also have a sedative effect, due to which they calm the patient and enable him to fall asleep.
However, in the diagnosis of whooping cough, treatment is not only in taking medications, during this disease it is very important to follow a number of rules:
- Make sure that the room in which the child is located is well ventilated. The air in it should be cool and, very importantly, not dry. This is due to the fact that in a warm and dry environment, sputum becomes thicker and therefore does not move well, well, and this provokes more frequent and prolonged attacks. In addition, there should be no dust in the room, since it also provokes a cough.
- Spend as much time as possible with the child in the air, of course, if his condition allows.
- Protect your child from strong emotions and physical exertion during the illness, as they can provoke seizures.
- Give your baby food that does not require special chewing.
- Distract the baby from the disease – read, play quiet games, etc.
- With strong coughing attacks, seat the child and tilt it slightly forward. This will facilitate coughing and eliminate the likelihood of inhalation of vomitus.
Whooping cough in children is a widespread disease that affects about 50 million people every year. The causative agent of whooping cough is a bacterium that enters the human body through the respiratory organs. The pertussis stick on the mucous membranes settles, and the remaining parts of the body do not get into the womb.
Infection with whooping cough occurs by airborne droplets. Its pathogen is extremely contagious, it is quite capable of hitting a child from the carrier of the disease, at a distance of 2-3 meters. Most often, whooping cough occurs in children from a few months to eight years.
Course and symptoms of whooping cough
Characteristic symptoms of whooping cough are vomiting, vascular spasms, bronchi, glottis, skeletal and other muscles. But the most obvious manifestation of this disease, of course, is a constant, peculiar cough. The reasons for its appearance were explained by the scientists A.I. Dobrokhotova, I.A. Arshavsky and V.D. Sobolivnik.
Their theory is based on the fact that all processes in the body are controlled by certain brain cells. In case of illness, whooping cough produces toxins that affect the respiratory center. The excitation of this part of the brain is so great that it extends to neighboring cells that are responsible, for example, for vomiting, muscle contraction or the behavior of the vascular system, which leads to the manifestations of the disease mentioned above.
Due to the fact that such excitation of the brain region is gradual, the child can cough convulsively even after the infection has completely left his body. Also, during the time of illness, conditioned reflexes can have time to form, after which a similar cough appears – the arrival of a doctor or the measurement of temperature.
An interesting fact is that with a strong arousal of other various parts of the brain, the respiratory center temporarily slows down cough signals. This explains, for example, the lack of cough in ill children who are enthusiastically engaged in some kind of game.
Course of the disease
Whooping cough has an incubation period of 3 to 15 days on average.
There are three main periods of the disease:
- Catarrhal. At this stage, whooping cough does not manifest any special symptoms, as a result of which it differs little from the usual acute respiratory disease. Many children continue to go to schools and kindergartens, which is especially sad, because at this time, whooping cough is most contagious. Characteristic signs of a catarrhal period are a slightly elevated temperature (about 37.5) and persistent dry cough. Gradually, it becomes more pronounced, becoming the main symptom. By the end of the catarrhal period, cough acquires two characteristics: it occurs mainly at night and often leads to vomiting. Often the patient at this time may experience a runny nose. At the same time he feels rather well, his appetite is preserved. The catarrhal period proceeds, depending on the situation, from 3 to 14 days. In most cases – about a week.
- Spasmodic. During this period, the characteristic signs of whooping cough in a child manifest themselves in the form of convulsive or spasmodic cough, which occurs immediately or after some precursors: pressure in the chest, anxiety, sore throat. Such a cough cannot be confused with anything else, and for an experienced doctor it is enough to hear him only once to make a diagnosis without resorting to any other tests. If you try to cough right now, you will notice that on every cough push an exhalation is made. With a whooping cough such shocks can be an unlimited number, because of which the child sometimes begins to choke. At the moment when it is possible to take a deep, convulsive breath, the air enters inside with a characteristic whistle (reprise). This is because the glottis is cramped. The harder the disease goes, the longer the cough and the more reprises. Often, at the end of the attacks, sputum begins to expectorate, sometimes with blood. Vomiting is occasionally possible. During cough, the child’s face turns red, tears begin to flow, the tongue protrudes outward. Sometimes short-term stops of breathing are possible – from several seconds to a minute, which inevitably leads to disturbances in the nervous and circulatory systems. Such attacks can also be caused by external stimuli, such as dressing and undressing, feeding, or loud noises. Cough is especially manifest at night. During daylight hours, especially while being in the open air, he practically does not bother the patient. After two weeks, the cough gradually begins to pass. It is noteworthy that between the attacks of spasmodic cough, children behave, as usual, play, regularly eat. The spasmodic period runs from 2 weeks to 1.5-2 months. Over time, coughing attacks become easier.
- Period of convalescence. During this stage, the cough occurs less frequently, and then other symptoms disappear. The whole process takes 2-4 weeks. Periods of coughing are typical for the period of recovery, but this is often associated with brain activity or infection with some other infectious disease, like flu. Thus, as a disease, whooping cough takes from 5 to 12 weeks.
Whooping cough can take one of three forms:
- Lightweight Up to 15 coughing bouts per day, up to 5 reprints. The almost complete absence of vomiting with a completely normal state of health.
- Medium heavyweight. Up to 25 attacks per day. Often, after coughing, vomiting begins. The general condition is moderately worse.
- Heavy. Up to 50 cough shots per day. The attacks are severe – sometimes up to 15 minutes and almost always accompanied by vomiting. The dream is broken, appetite vanishes, the patient sharply grows thin.
The criteria mentioned above are very vague, because the tolerance of the disease is a purely individual process.
Recently began to allocate the erased form of the disease, during which there are no coughing attacks. It is characteristic of children who have been vaccinated against whooping cough.
Features of pertussis in children under the age of 1 year
In infants, the course of the disease may differ. Incubation and catarrhal periods are reduced. There are cases when a child begins to cough from the first days of the disease. Less often, one can observe vomiting, reprises, and edema.
In turn, more often you can observe lethargy and clouding of consciousness, convulsions of the muscles of the face. The disease is most severe in children younger than 6 months. They have a spasmodic period of up to 3 months. Much more frequent than older children, there are complications in the form of bronchitis and pneumonia.