Pertussis, more commonly referred to as the whooping cough, can be a very deadly disease if contracted during infancy. In fact, the whooping cough has been known to cause death and permanent disability in children. During the 20th century it was discovered that pertussis was actually the cause for a large number of infant deaths leading to the introduction of the vaccine which helped decrease the amount of infants that died as a result of the disease.
However, new information has shown that the disease is starting to make a comeback in adolescents and adults that did not receive vaccination when they were young or had vaccinations that have worn off. The whooping cough will start out as a small respiratory cough that resembles a cold until it grows into a deadly hacking cough that needs to be properly treated in order to cure.
The first symptoms most people will notice are nasal congestion, runny nose, red and watery eyes, sneezing, a dry cough, and low fever. Due to the fact that many of these symptoms are the same as the common cold a great deal of people suffering from pertussis does not seek out treatment for their ailment right away.
However, sometime in the first 12 days of the disease the individual progresses and instead of just feeling like they have a cold will have a hard time breathing, will find themselves vomiting and coughing at the same time, and facing occasional loss of consciousness.
In infants, these symptoms will exhibit as decreased breathing sounds, pneumonia, ear infections, seizures, dehydration, and potentially brain damage. Therefore if an infant becomes sick it must immediately be hospitalized where it can be treated and closely monitored with the intent of preventing long term damage to the child.