A whooping cough can look like a cold at first – it can tell the difference

In northern Europe, whooping cough is more common now than it has been in years. An infectious disease doctor explains how to distinguish whooping cough from the common cold.

Whooping cough can occur despite vaccination. Adobe Stock / AOP

Cases of whooping cough are now being diagnosed in increasing numbers in Europe. The disease seems to be very common in Finland as well.

Chief Physician of the Epidemiological Operations of Helsinki Channa Isompi In Helsinki, he says, clusters of whooping cough have recently been detected in individual classes in Haga and Olungile primary schools.

– These students are of an age where vaccine protection is slightly reduced. In other parts of Europe, cases of whooping cough have increased, and with the increase in tourists, we may also have more infections.

Head of Hus Diagnostics Lasse Lehtonen At the end of April there were 40 positive pertussis samples per week in the Helsinki area, while at the beginning of the year there were 3-4 per week, he told Iltalehti over the weekend.

In the right region of Finland, cases of whooping cough are increasing among children aged 10-14, their siblings and young adults. Durgu Sanomath.

Severe spasmodic cough

Whooping cough is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis that has an incubation period of one to two weeks. Early stage symptoms include a mild cough, runny nose and a normal flu-like temperature. In adults, it may occur in the early stages of the disease occur An exceptional sore throat.

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Spasmodic cough usually starts 1-2 weeks after the first symptoms.

How do you differentiate a cough from whooping cough, for example, from a tough cough from a viral flu?

It can be difficult, Isosomppi says.

– You may not be able to tell the difference between the coughs, but whooping cough is characterized by spasms and especially at night.

In whooping cough, inhalation also becomes difficult, so a wheezing sound is heard at the end of the coughing fit. Between bouts, the patient may have mild symptoms.

A coughing fit can be triggered by, for example, stress or a temperature change such as eating ice cream. Cough may persist for long periods and asthma may be suspected as the underlying cause.

Babies under six months are not yet vaccinated, so whooping cough can be life-threatening. Adobe Stock / AOP

Children at risk

There are many different types of viral infections, so unless you’ve been in contact with someone with whooping cough, there’s no reason to immediately suspect a cold is whooping cough, Isosomppi says.

The test requires a referral from a healthcare professional. In the first weeks after the onset of symptoms, a PCR test is performed on a nasopharyngeal sample and, if necessary, a culture. If the disease has persisted for a long time, an antibody test in the blood can confirm the diagnosis.

Whooping cough can affect people of all ages, but whooping cough symptoms are usually mild in healthy adults.

Young babies under six months of age are at the highest risk of developing severe disease.

Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics if symptoms last less than a month. In a long illness, the symptoms gradually disappear. Even without antibiotic treatment, people who have a cough for more than three weeks will not get sick.

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Whooping cough in young children is usually treated in a hospital.

The video shows how large areas cough droplets can travel.

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