Whooping cough is a disease caused by a bacterium (Bordetella pertussis). This bacterium produces dust that causes enormous coughing. Whooping cough is already very annoying in adults, but whooping cough in a baby is already pathetic. In addition, serious complications can also develop in your baby. How can you recognize whooping cough in your baby, how long does it take and how can you prevent it? You read it in this blog!
What is whooping cough?
Whooping cough is a disease of the throat, nose and trachea. It is caused by the Bordetella pertussis. This bacterium causes severe coughing. Whooping cough is a contagious disease that can persist for several months. It often starts with the symptoms of a normal nasal cold, only later does it start coughing. You are already contagious before the coughing begins. The infection goes through small droplets coming from the throat into the air. Whooping cough is especially dangerous for a baby, especially unvaccinated babies and babies who have not yet had all vaccinations.
What does whooping cough sound like?
In the beginning, whooping cough sounds like a dry cough in a baby. In the night, the coughing tends to be a little heavier. The dry cough quickly goes to cough up mucus and your baby will make a whooping noise when inhaling. Also the baby is also very stuffy.
Whooping cough baby's symptoms
Whooping cough in a baby starts with a severe cold, sneezing and possibly also a slight fever and tickling cough. After about 1 or 2 weeks, the coughing will become more severe and your baby will give up clear, tough mucus. It may also be that your little one has to throw up or turn blue. During the coughing, your baby makes a screaming sound when inhaling. Your baby may also have it stuffy. Because the coughing is incredibly exhausting, your baby is pendant, weepy and listless.
How long does pertussis last?
Whooping cough can be transmitted by coughing, sneezing or talking. The incubation time is about 1 to 3 weeks. The first symptom is that your child has a cold. After this, it will take 1 to 2 weeks before coughing starts. From the moment your child has a cold until about 6 weeks after, your child can transfer the whooping cough.
The whooping cough in a baby can take 3 to 4 months, but it is not wise to let it take its course. If you think your baby is suffering from whooping cough, always go straight to the doctor.
Whooping cough complication
Whooping cough in a baby can cause various complications, such as pneumonia, convulsions, breathlessness and bleeding or brain damage because your baby is getting too little oxygen. In the worst case your baby can die of it.
How often does pertussis occur?
Cattle cough has been more common than previously in the past 20 years. Every year between 4000 and 8000 people report with whooping cough at the GP, 170 babies! On average 120 babies are hospitalized per year with whooping cough. In most cases the babies are younger than 3 months. The chance of death is very small. In the period from 2005 to 2014, at least 5 babies died in the Netherlands.
Why does pertussis occur in a baby?
Babies are not protected from whooping cough in the first months of their lives. And that while it can have big consequences for these little babies. Young babies are vaccinated against whooping cough when the baby is 6 weeks old. Before that time they are very susceptible, because the immune system is not yet well developed. If you suspect that someone in your area has whooping cough, keep that person at a great distance from your baby.
Treating whooping cough in a baby
The most important thing is to ensure that your whooping cough occurs in a baby. Do you think someone in your family has whooping cough and your baby is newborn or you are 34 weeks pregnant, consult the doctor! It is possible that your GP decides to give antibiotics to all family members so that the baby is not infected.
Furthermore, there is no specific treatment for whooping cough. If your baby has it seriously, he or she may be admitted to the hospital.
Is pertussis dangerous for the unborn child?
If you are 34 weeks or longer pregnant, you must be very careful not to be infected with whooping cough. So stay away from people who cough. Do you think someone in your family is infected or do you think you have come into contact with someone who has whooping cough, then immediately call in the doctor. Also pay attention to the symptoms of whooping cough. You will then receive treatment from your doctor.
Getting the whooping cough when you are pregnant is not directly harmful to your unborn baby. You have to pay attention if you are 34 weeks or longer pregnant.
Whooping cough inoculation in pregnancy
It is possible to vaccinate yourself during pregnancy to prevent whooping cough in a baby after birth. The antibodies come through the placenta with your baby. In the first months of your baby's life, he or she is therefore immediately protected against whooping cough. In this way they stay better protected until they are old enough for their first vaccination (from 6 weeks).
The vaccination can be put in your third trimester (week 28 to week 32). The costs are currently for own account. You can request the vaccination through your doctor. The vaccination is quite effective. In the pregnant women who were vaccinated, 91% fewer babies became ill compared to the group of women who had not been vaccinated.
Whether the vaccination is safe? They think so, this is also evident from the most recent studies. Do you have to have a vaccination? No that is not necessary.Although the Health Council already issued the recommendation in 2015 to offer all pregnant women a vaccination for whooping cough in a baby, it is still not organized nationally. So you have to take action yourself if you want a vaccination.