It is an infection of the airway which evolves in 4 to 6 weeks; it is highly contagious.
The person who suffers from this disease remains immune for a long time but probably not for lifetime.
There are more cases in winter and it is distributed worlwide.
Signs and symptoms
It presents 3 periods; the duration of which may vary.
The first period is called Catarrhal Period. It has a duration of 7 to 14 days; it is similar to an episode of flu or a cold. This is the most contagious period.
The second period is called Paroxysmal. It lasts longer, between 4 and 6 weeks. During this period we can normally see repeated cough fits of approximately 5 to 10 blows followed by a sudden and generally noisy inhalation (stridor); there is relief afterwards. We can many times see vomits, secondary to the suffocation of the moment. This is not likely to happen in the case of milk-fed children, but there are episodes of breathing pauses of varied duration. All this is more frequent at night.
The third period is called the Convalescence Period. It lasts for 2 to 3 weeks; the symptoms decrease gradually.
The total duration of the disease is more than 45 days.
It is based on a good medical record and a detailed physical examination of the patient, plus some lab tests and radiology studies if indicated by the doctor.
The cough fits followed by stridor are orientative to reach the diagnosis.
Pneumonia and other lung problems. Neurological sequelae related with long breathing pauses and frequent association with convulsive episodes.
Many cases can be treated in an ambulatory way especially in the case of older children.
Some cases require confinement for oxygen support and alimentation by means of a catheter or to give the patient liquid with intravenous serum. Bronchodilator medication is used.
Some antibiotics will be indicated to induce a quicker cure (Erythromycin).
Antitussives are not useful.
The triple or quadruple vaccines give children immunity against this pathology (see Vaccines)
A vaccine can prevent your children from having many health problems.