If you have a child, then you probably understand that children become ill quite often. There are a wide variety of flu and cold illnesses you will need to deal with. Some of these sicknesses will seem a bit more troublesome than others. This may be true if your child develops whooping cough. Keep reading to understand how this ailment is treated and also to find out what you can do to make your child feel better.
How Is Whooping Cough Treated?
Whooping cough is a respiratory infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis. This type of bacterium is a gram-negative variety that multiplies very quickly once it infects the respiratory mucous. This means that your child is likely to develop symptoms very soon after they become infected. In many cases, the bacteria is spread through the mucous that is excreted from infected individuals. Specifically, the droplets of fluid that release from the lungs when you cough is how the disease is spread to others.
Since pertussis is a bacterial infection, it can be treated with antibiotics. The disease will start off like a cold with congestion and coughing. During the beginning stages of the disease, treatment is most effective in keeping the whooping cough from developing further into a more serious issue. If your child has been around someone else who has recently developed whooping cough, then your child should be taken to their pediatrician as soon as they start to show symptoms.
Relatively long courses of antibiotics need to be provided to children, even if the infection is caught early on. You should not be surprised if your child needs to take medication for longer than 10 days. While the medicine will help to minimize some of the more serious effects of the illness, you are likely to notice that the illness takes several weeks to completely resolve itself.
How Can You Help Your Child?
If your child does contract whooping cough and they start receiving treatment within a short period of time, then your child has a very good chance of fighting off the disease at home without having to stay in the hospital. While this is true, you will need to do some things to make your child feel as comfortable as possible. When adults develop whooping cough, physicians can prescribe strong cough suppressants. These medicines are not typically safe for children, so they are often avoided. You also should not give your child over the counter cough medicines since they rarely help to stop coughing fits.
You should work to reduce irritation that can trigger a coughing spell. Adding a humidifier to your child's room and keeping it on at all times can help. This helps to loosen mucous congestion in the lungs so your child has an easier time coughing it up. If possible, use a cool mist humidifier.
You also should make sure that your son or daughter's room is as clean as possible and free from dust, smoke, pollen, pet dander, and fumes that can cause irritation.
Offer your child plenty of fluids while they are ill. Drinking is the best way to encourage a productive cough that brings mucous out of the lungs. Also, dehydration is a serious concern and can lead to complications while your child is ill. Water, soup broth, juice, and sports drinks are all good choices. Make sure your child sits up when they drink to minimize choking concerns.
If your child has a bit of an appetite, then offer small meals several times a day. This can keep your child from vomiting, since coughing fits can cause your son or daughter to throw up. Also, offer whole fruits and vegetables to increase the intake of fluid.