Although bacteria cause whooping cough, antibiotics aren't especially effective in treating it unless they're given in the first stage. Very often, the disease isn't recognized until it enters the second stage. Nevertheless, antibiotics such as erythromycin*, clarithromycin, azithromycin, or sulfamethoxazole - trimethoprim are given at this stage to reduce the possibility of complications, even if they don't cut the duration of the whooping cough itself.
Infants with pertussis are often hospitalized, especially those less than 6 months of age. Treatment is designed to minimize symptoms and the damage those symptoms can cause. In the case of heavy vomiting, fluids and electrolytes (e.g., potassium) must be replaced intravenously. In babies, it may be necessary to suck out mucus with a vacuum-like device or to install a nasal breathing tube to help breathing. Extra oxygen may also be necessary. Expectorant and cough-suppressing medications are generally not recommended. Babies with pertussis should be left to sleep as much as possible, since any disturbance or excitement is likely to trigger coughing. In older children, symptoms and risks are much milder, and hospitalization is hardly ever needed.
Most people know there's a vaccine against whooping cough; however, too many people know about it for the wrong reasons. Antivaccine groups and the media have focused on a one-in-a-million chance of encephalitis (severe brain inflammation) occurring in the hours or days after the vaccination, while not addressing the far larger risk of encephalitis caused by whooping cough in unvaccinated people.
The Canadian pertussis vaccination schedule is as follows: babies are given the DPT (diphtheria - pertussis - tetanus) vaccine at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months of age to establish basic immunity. They are then given boosters at 18 months and at 4 to 6 years of age. The last booster should cover them to about age 14 to 16, when they are given the new whooping cough vaccine (see below) combined with the adult diphtheria - tetanus formulation. The first 5 shots (from 2 months to 4 to 6 years) will usually be given in conjunction with polio vaccine and Hemophilus influenzae B or "Hib" vaccine (an antipneumonia vaccine), since these have the same schedule as DPT. Additional immunizations are given with some of these first 5 shots, with the exact schedule determined by the province. In the late 90's, a new pertussis vaccine that didn't contain whole killed Bordetella pertussis cells was introduced in Canada.
The new vaccine is known as DTaP ("a" stands for acellular), while the old one is called DTwP ("w" is for whole). The new shot is even less likely to cause severe reactions than the old one. Because of recent evidence that many infants catch pertussis from adults, aP (acellular pertussis vaccine)
is now available in a combined adult diphtheria - tetanus - acellular pertussis shot.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Whooping-Cough