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Pertussis or whooping cough is a respiratory tract disease caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. This disease is highly contagious. Whooping cough can be serious when it affects infants and young children who have not been vaccinated. Pertussis causes thick mucus to develop in the airways. There might be inflammation of the breathing tubes in the lungs.

A patient suffering from pertussis has severe coughing spells. There might be low-grade fever too. The person may make a characteristic whooping sound, that is high pitched while coughing. The cough attacks are worse at night. Cough spells may be accompanied by vomiting. Other symptoms of pertussis include nasal congestion and runny nose. There is likely to be loss of appetite.

Treatment for pertussis includes antibiotics such as azithromycin or erythromycin. Sometimes hospitalization may be required. It takes about 4 - 6 weeks for pertussis infection to clear off with the right treatment and care. Pertussis vaccine immunizes a person from whooping cough. This is part of the immunization schedule for children. Pertussis vaccine is given along with the vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus. This DPT vaccine is given to children and followed up in adult life too.


Paroxysm refers to sudden fits or outbursts. These paroxysmal attacks are short and usually frequent. Paroxysmal attacks are associated with pertussis, encephalitis, heat trauma, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. A paroxysm is most often triggered by anxiety, neck flexion and anger.


Bronchitis is an inflammatory disease caused in the bronchi or airways of the lungs. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed inflammatory diseases of the lung. The exact description of bronchitis is the consistent onset of productive cough throughout the year at regular intervals. Exceptions for the occurrence of bronchitis include children and infants. In most cases, the diagnosis of bronchitis becomes a challenge as many other pulmonary diseases mimic the symptoms associated with bronchitis. The obstruction of large airways is the specific cause for bronchitis.

The etiologies associated with bronchitis are categorized as bacterial and viral origins. In many cases, the disease is caused by respiratory syncytial viruses, influenza viruses and adeno viruses. Bacterial agents such as Bordatella pertussis and Mycoplasma are causative agents for bronchitis. In these cases, the occurrence of purulent cough is not a significant diagnostic factor of Pneumonia.

Symptoms of bronchitis

The most frequent incidences of bronchitis are during the onset of winter season. This is because of the high volume of viral particles in the atmosphere which attack the host for their mode of survival during unfavorable conditions. Bronchitis can cause much discomfort as it weakens the infected person. Some of the common symptoms of bronchitis include dry cough leading to productive cough which contains greenish yellow phlegm, chest pain, breathlessness, Myalgia, fatigue and headache.

Diagnosis and Treatment of bronchitis

Bronchitis in many cases is self-limiting in origin. Most physicians recommend fluid intake and rest. The key to effective treatment for bronchitis lies in differentiating it from other diseases such as tuberculosis, carcinoma, mycotic infections of the lungs and asthma. Chest x- rays and blood tests are recommended to analyze the toxicity and the inflammation caused. Antibiotics are usually not recommended. However, in case of increased white blood cell count, patient is given intravenous fluids along with antibiotics.

Tags: #Pertussis #Paroxysm #Bronchitis
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: May 25, 2024