Becoming ill or acquiring a disease can happen to anyone. Anybody can be infected especially those who have poor immune defenses. However, the effects and the severity of these diseases actually vary from one person to another. This depends on how the person is capable of coping up with the disease as well as the current health situation or condition of the individual. In line with these, pregnant women are considered one of the few people that are recognized as vulnerable to having severe effects from certain diseases. Aside from having a lower immune system compared to other individuals, becoming sick while pregnant also increases the risk of developing abnormalities or anomalies to the unborn child due to the acquired infection by the mother. One of the most common health concerns of mothers is obtaining a respiratory disease known as whooping cough. What is whooping cough? Is whooping cough in pregnancy dangerous?
What is Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough or medically known as pertussis is a type of respiratory problem that is caused by a bacterial infection in the name of Bordatella pertussis. One this causative agent attacks of invades the respiratory system it can cause the inflammation of the lungs as well as the airways. This bacterium can also settle in the windpipe causing it to be affected as well. Because of this condition, severe and persistent coughing can be experienced.
What are the Symptoms of Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough or Pertussis can actually result to a lot of symptoms. However, one of the most distinct is none other than the presence of a bout of violent cough that ends with a “whooping” sound. This earned it the name, whooping cough. Aside from this, other symptoms of this illness includes symptoms that are very similar to flu such as sneezing, rhinorhea or runny nose, the presence of mild cough for at least 2 weeks before turning violent and persistent and the possibility of having fever. Pertussis is also known by many as the 100 day cough since it is one of the few respiratory ailments that can cause a long duration of coughs that ends only after a few months.
Who are the Common Victims of this Disease?
Although whooping cough is more common and associated with children and infants, whooping cough/pertussis can also be acquired by many adults as well as the pregnant women. However, the symptoms and the side effects of this infection is said to be more prominent and severe among children than in adults.
How is Whooping Cough Transmitted?
The transmission of whooping cough is just like any other transmission of respiratory diseases. Pertussis can be passed from one person to another through the droplets and air particles produced while coughing or sneezing. This can be inhaled by another person, which can lead to the affectation og the respiratory organs causing the development of the disease. Aside from this, vulnerable individuals such as pregnant women and unimmunized children are also more susceptible in acquiring the bacterium that causes this ailment. Adults may not experience the same type of severity in the effects of the disease, but adults are usually the ones that start the spread of the disease especially in a household with multiple cases of infection.
Is it Dangerous for Women to have the Disease?
Many believe that the presence of whooping cough during pregnancy can cause many harmful side effects to the fetus. However, there is actually still NO proof or hard facts that could support this information or speculation. Because of this, obtaining whooping cough while being pregnant should cause no worries for mothers with regards to the health of the baby. However, once the mother is still infected during the time of birth, the possibility of passing the disease to the newborn is very high. Newborns are considered to have low immune defenses, which makes them very susceptible for acquiring whooping cough. On the other hand, there is still no proof that women can suffer from serious obstetrical complications due to the infection.
The only problem with whooping cough is that this is commonly misdiagnosed by doctors making it harder and longer to treat and/or manage. Nevertheless, giving the mother prophylactic antibiotics before giving birth as well as to the baby during birth can prevent the possibility of transmitting the disease to the infants. Aside from this, giving full or complete immunizations such as DPT or Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus, can likewise be efficient in avoiding the occurrence of the respiratory ailment.