We at Hyfe, Inc., are a company devoted to working on tools to better understand the importance of cough. It is Hyfe’s intention in the future to seek regulatory approval for medical products that analyze cough in order that they may be used to diagnose, monitor, and facilitate better treatment of respiratory illnesses.
Whooping cough gets its name from the “whoop” sound that comes with the cough. This is a characteristic sound for this type of cough. It manifests as a loud coughing spell with intervals of deep inhalation, the whoop.
The primary cause of whooping cough is an airway infection by a bacteria known as Bordetella pertussis. While it is frequently associated with this infectious source, it is not uncommon for other respiratory infections to develop whooping cough.
Whooping cough is commonly prevalent among infants and children whose immunities are still getting accustomed to the environment around them. Additionally, those who have never received the vaccination against pertussis are at a higher risk.
Classic whooping cough scarcely occurs among adults, primarily because most have received the vaccination and its follow-up booster shots. However, adults whose immunity has waned are likely to develop this condition.
Signs of underlying infection are not apparent until a week to ten days following bacterial infection. The first stages of the disease resemble the common cold:
After this phase, the characteristically sounding cough occurs. Infected individuals typically have coughing bouts lasting about a minute, which generally end with the resounding “whoop.” These spells can occur together and throughout intervals in the day.
Based on the division on the appearance of the signs of whooping cough, there are three phases of the disease process.
Convalescent phase: This is the recovery phase. It may still include bouts of cough. This is usually mild when compared to classic whooping cough. Medications can help reach this stage quicker. It is possible to be in the convalescent phase for months.
It is essential to identify underlying pertussis early due to its ability to spread relatively easily. Since sneezing and coughing are some of the presenting signs, infection spread occurs before the actual cough presents itself.
Early diagnosis can also enable early treatment, which can help prevent serious complications such as pneumonia, dehydration, seizures, hernias, and bruising/cracking of the ribs.
Most trained clinicians can diagnose whooping cough just by registering the patient’s history and the sound of the cough. A healthcare professional will take a nose or throat swab to confirm the diagnosis in most cases. Infants and children could need hospitalization due to the severe course pertussis infection might take. Adults receive a course of antibiotics which often help improve symptoms immediately.
Severe infection with Bordetella pertussis is preventable through the DPT vaccine. This immunization is often why severe illness mainly occurs among children and babies. Adults who do not receive their booster shots are at a higher risk of severe infection.
Adults should track their symptoms as soon as they start. It is also helpful to record the sound of your cough. This data might help with an early diagnosis. Moreover, it can enable teleconsultation to initiate antibiotic management.
Watch this video to know what this cough sounds like: