Named after the characteristic sound of its notorious coughing fits, whooping cough is an extraordinarily uncomfortable condition that typically manifests itself in babies and in children ages 11 to 18 whose vaccine-provided immunities have begun to fade. In addition to causing several debilitating symptoms, whooping cough also carries the possibility of infant mortality, particularly for patients under 12 months old. Further complicating the matter, initial symptoms often resemble a common cold, making quick detection a tricky task. To be more proactive in the treatment and prevention of this disease, read below to learn the basics on whooping cough and how to best go about alleviating it.
What is Whooping Cough?
Officially diagnosed by the name pertussis, whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that resides within the nose and throat. Whooping cough is spread through airborne bacteria produced by an infected person’s sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Once whooping cough has been contracted, the apparent symptoms begin in an identical fashion to the common cold. That includes:
Fever (below 102 F)
Congestion and sneezing
After a week to 10 days, these symptoms begin to grow worse. Mucus thickens and starts to coat the patient’s airways, leading to rampant and prolonged coughing. These fits can be so violent that that they may cause vomiting, lengthy periods of extreme fatigue, and result in blue or red face. This last sign is the direct outcome of the body’s struggle to fill the lungs with air, and once breathing is finally achieved, the loud “whooping” sound that defines the condition is produced.
What are the Dangers of the Disease?
If left untreated, whooping cough can produce a number of painful and dangerous complications, with the specific ailments depending on the age of the patient.
For teens and adults, untreated whooping cough can result in:
Bruised or cracked ribs
Broken blood vessels in the skin and whites of the eyes
For infants, complications from whooping cough are a great deal more severe. They include:
Slowed or stopped breathing
Feeding difficulties, which may lead to dehydration and severe weight loss
What Can I Do About It?
The best approach to preventing the disease is through vaccination. This is especially important for babies, as whooping cough leaves them in significant danger, though it is essential to keep your children on regular vaccination schedules, regardless of their individual age.
While vaccines are extremely effective in reducing the likelihood of contracting whooping cough, the possibility of developing the condition is still present. Due to this perpetual risk, if you witness your child’s cold symptoms continuing to worsen, arrange an appointment with their local pediatrician to find out if the problem may be whooping cough. If diagnosed early enough, antibiotics can be used to cut down on the painful symptoms and prevent the infection from spreading to others.
Concerned? Give Us a Call
Whooping cough is a serious condition that can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. If you have any suspicions that your child may have developed this condition, give us a call today!
Though it is common and often mild, childhood asthma can be a serious cause for concern for many parents. However, learning to spot the signs and symptoms of this chronic condition and working with your doctor to manage its symptoms is crucial to the health of your child. Learn more about childhood asthma and how to identify its symptoms by reading below, and contact Dr. Farnoush Jamali at Prime Pediatrics in Gaithersburg, MD, if you are at all concerned about your child.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition which affects the airways and causes them to contract, causing difficulty breathing. Inflammation of the airways results in narrowed passages. These airways are crucial in carrying oxygen from the air you breathe into the lungs, meaning that asthma can be a potentially dangerous and serious condition.
Does my child have asthma?
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, childhood asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease. Unfortunately, childhood asthma is hard to diagnose. Learning to spot the signs and symptoms of asthma can help your child get the help they need. Some of these signs include:
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent coughing
- Chest pain
- Chest congestion or tightness
- Recurrent episodes of suspected bronchitis or pneumonia
Childhood asthma treatments
The goal of asthma treatment is to limit its symptoms as much as possible, decrease the instances of flare-ups, and allow your child to be active or exercise without restrictions. Learning your child’s asthma triggers can help you prevent attacks by avoiding the triggers. Your doctor may also suggest long-term or quick-relief medications to manage the symptoms. These can include a quick-relief inhaler for use during attacks, or corticosteroids to be inhaled for several days or weeks. Allergy management with medication or allergy shots can additionally help reduce the symptoms of allergy-induced asthma.
Concerned? Call our Gaithersburg office today!
Working with your doctor to create an asthma action plan will ensure that you and your child know the best way to treat their symptoms and exactly what to do during an asthma attack. For more information on childhood asthma, please contact Dr. Farnoush Jamali at Prime Pediatrics in Gaithersburg, MD. Call (301) 977-2440 to schedule your child’s appointment with Dr. Jamali today!
Does Your Child Have Vision Problems?
Does your child have vision problems? Children learn through their eyes. Healthy vision is critical for children to see the computer and chalkboard, read, write, and even play. Children's eyes should be examined regularly, as many eye conditions and vision problems can be detected and treated early. Here are six signs that your child may have a vision problem.
1. Squinting eyes. If your child is nearsighted then squinting his eyes helps him make his vision a little clearer and can clear up any distorted vision. Nearsighted just means that they can see things that are near them but have a harder time with objects that are far away. Squinting is a coping mechanism to help relieve their blurry vision.
2. Sitting close to the TV. While it's a myth that sitting close to the television will damage your eyes, this habit may be a sign of a vision problem. If your child can't see televised images clearly or always holds a book too close, it could mean she or he is nearsighted.
3. Frequent eye rubbing. Yes, kids often rub their eyes when they're upset or tired. But if your child rubs her eyes while she's trying to concentrate on something, or while she is being active, it could mean that she has a vision problem. Frequently rubbing their eyes can be a sign of eye strain in children. It can be a sign of a focusing issue that causes the eyes to tire easily.
4. Losing place while reading. When children learn to read and are sounding out words, they will frequently use their finger to track which word they're on. But eventually children should be able to focus without losing their place. If after a while your child still uses his finger, ask him to try reading without pointing. If he has trouble, he may have a vision problem.
5. Sensitivity to light. Are your child's eyes sensitive to sunshine or indoor lighting? Many common eye conditions can make people more sensitive to light. If your child's light sensitivity is caused by an eye condition, then treatment for their condition can mean that his eye becomes less light sensitive.
6. Receiving lower grades. If your child is having a hard time seeing what her teacher writes on the board because of poor vision, she may not tell you about it. As a result, her grades can suffer. Most of what kids learn in schools is taught visually. That means if your child has an untreated vision problem, it could affect his or her development.
Yearly eye exams are as important as visits to the pediatrician. If you think your child may have a vision problem, schedule an appointment with a doctor. Early detection and treatment provide the best opportunity to correct a vision problem so your child can learn to see clearly.
When To Take Your Child To Urgent Care
As a parent, you want to always do everything you can when your child is sick, but sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly how sick your child is, especially when they’re very young and can’t communicate what is bothering them. Urgent care or a trip to the hospital isn’t always needed for simple problems such as a cold, mild diarrhea, or mild fevers. So, when is it necessary to take your child to urgent care?
Not all illnesses need an immediate visit with your pediatrician and it’s important for you to know what symptoms to look out for. Some symptoms that may require urgent care are:
Vomiting and diarrhea that lasts more than a few hours
Rash, especially with a fever
A cough or cold that lasts several days
Large cuts or gashes
Limping or the inability to move an arm or leg
Ear pain with fever
A severe sore throat or swallowing problems
Sharp and persistent stomach or abdomen pain
Blood in urine
Blood in stool
Not being able to drink for more than 12 hours
Rectal temperature of 100.4 F or higher in a baby younger than 2 months old
Fever and vomiting
Any pain that gets worse and doesn’t go away after several hours
While many illnesses may go away with love and nurturing after a few days, there are times when it is necessary to see your pediatrician as soon as possible. If your child has any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to call your pediatrician right away to find out if it is necessary for your child to go in for an appointment so that your child can get well as soon as possible.
Cold Vs. Flu
Is it a cold or the flu? When it comes to your child's health, your pediatrician provides great information and guidance on the most common illnesses plaguing families. If you are wondering about the exact nature of your child's illness and how to treat it, learn the differences between a cold and the flu and how to treat and prevent them.
What is a cold?
A cold is an upper respiratory viral infection lasting 5 to 7 days in both adults and children alike. Generally milder in intensity and shorter in duration than influenza, a cold causes:
- Watery eyes
- A runny nose
- Low-grade fever
- High fever
- Body aches
- Extreme tiredness
- Severe headache
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Stay well-hydrated.
- Avoid crowds during peak cold and flu season.
- Keep your child home from daycare and school if he or she is sick.
- Teach your child to cover his or her mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Don't share food or utensils, even with family members.
- Vaccinate against the flu. Ask your pediatrician for your child's "shot."
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