Whooping cough or medically termed as pertussis is a type of respiratory infection that is caused by a bacteria called Bordatella pertussis. This kind of ailment is common among children; however, this can still affect adults, especially those who failed to receive immunizations during infancy. Pertussis can cause certain types of symptoms; nevertheless, the most distinct is the presence of the “whooping” sound right after a bout of coughs. These symptoms can persist for months, which is the reason why it is commonly called as the “100 day cough”. So what are the management and the treatment for pertussis? Are there any antibiotics for whooping cough?
Self management or treatment is usually possible for whooping cough in most adults; however, infants aged 6 months and below as well as other children are always advisable for hospital admission. Fortunately, whooping cough is caused by bacteria, which is why it is effectively fought by antibiotics just like any other bacterial infections. Some of the most common antibiotics that can treat pertussis are the macrolide antibiotics. This classification helps in the reduction of the period of infectivity of the bacteria, but is not capable in altering the course of the illness not unless commenced prior to the paroxysmal phase. When treated with antibiotics, the period of infectivity will usually last for 5 days or even less.
Who should receive the antibiotics? Antibiotics should be given to any child admitted in the hospital. Children with history of cough for less than 14 days may also be given these medications. Specific antibiotics that can be given to whooping cough patients include Clarithromycin (children more than 1 month with a dose of 7.5 mg/kg up to 500 mg twice in a day for a week) and Azithromycin (children less than 1 month with a dose of 10mg/kg orally, once day for 5 days).
Aside from having the right antibiotics, controlling the case is also very important. The infected person must not attend school or work in order to be secluded from other individuals unless a week of antibiotics is finished. Any child who has been treated for more than 21 days is no longer considered infectious and because of this, school and work exclusion is already unnecessary. Aside from this, immunization or vaccination is also very important in order to prevent future infection from the disease. Pertussis immunization is usually given through intramuscular injection and is combined with other vaccine for diphtheria and tetanus. These are some of the important facts on whooping cough, particularly about the treatment and management of the disease.