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Whooping cough causes awakening during sleep and can last for several months: what is known about the disease – Society

Whooping cough causes awakening during sleep and can last for several months: what is known about the disease – Society

Often confused with flu or cold symptoms, Whooping cough is a respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. This harms the respiratory system and is transmitted through saliva resulting from coughing or touching contaminated objects.

In the past four months, the Directorate General of Health has recorded at least 200 cases of whooping cough, a figure that contrasts with the 22 cases recorded in 2023. Across Europe, there is also a general increase in the number of cases. According to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), while more than 25,000 cases of whooping cough were identified last year, about 32,000 cases were recorded this year, between January and March alone.

Sometimes, cough symptoms persist for several months, which may become a nuisance in daily life. Hey poison Antonio Bogalho, a pulmonologist at CUF Descobertas Hospital and CUF Tejo Hospital and researcher at the Universidad Nova de Lisboa, asked about the impact of the disease.

What are the symptoms?

Although it does not cause symptoms in some people, whooping cough has three phases: the catarrhal phase, the paroxysmal phase, and the convalescent phase.

According to Antonio Bugalho, in the catarrhal phase, which occurs in the first two weeks, the most common symptoms are malaise, mild cough, runny nose, red eyes, and sometimes low-grade fever.

In the following weeks we enter the stage severe illness, Which includes a violent cough that comes at intervals and may even lead to dizziness or vomiting, and this is its severity. “This stage is longer and can last for two to three months,” the specialist explains.

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At a stage In the recovery phase, coughing attacks gradually decrease until the patient fully recovers.

what is the cure?

“Everyone should remain alert and consult a health care professional when symptoms persist or become disabling, and when pertussis is suspected, to prevent the spread of infection to other people, especially children and adults who are more at risk. Normal breathing infections take less time to pass,” Doctor highlights.

Although there is a treatment, the researcher explains that the antibiotics that are prescribed, as a general rule, do not change the course of the disease. They are mostly used to reduce the risk of transmission.

Are drinks good allies?

Syrups, often associated with cough remedies, are not effective when it comes to whooping cough. Some patients may be advised to use cough suppressants, but only after medical evaluation and advice, explains the pulmonologist.

Can the disease cause other complications?

Children younger than 1 year of age and young people aged 10 to 19 years are the groups with the highest rates of whooping cough. In Europe, between 2023 and 2024, the majority of pertussis deaths occurred among children. Adults with respiratory problems, smokers and the elderly also end up falling into the risk group.

According to Antonio Bugalho, the consequences of whooping cough are more frequent In infants and children as well as adults with asthma or obstructive pulmonary disease. Complications of the disease can be caused by infections, such as otitis media and pneumonia, but also by violent coughing. Sometimes, this worsens or develops hernias, urinary incontinence, rib fractures, and muscle pain. School and occupational absences, frequent awakenings during sleep, and increased anxiety are other complications associated with the disease.

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What is the reason for the increase in cases?

Decreased vaccination and decreased immunity across Europe due to the COVID-19 pandemic are two hypotheses that could explain the increase in the number of cases. However, DrAccording to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is common for larger epidemics to occur every three years, or every five years, even with high vaccination coverage.

The most important preventive measure, according to the General Directorate of Security, is vaccination. The national vaccination program includes administering five doses of the vaccine Acellular pertussiswhich is taken at two months, four, six and 18 months and also at five years.