Whooping cough is an acute infectious disease of the respiratory tract caused by a bacterium called whooping cough, which manifests itself in the form of a chronic, paroxysmal cough. It is spread by droplets and facilitated by coughing, sneezing and talking. It is highly contagious and easy to catch from the flu, mumps, rubella, or chickenpox. A sick person can infect from 12 to 17 people. Meanwhile, many people in our country are not immune to it.
“Almost all of the adult population in Poland is not immune to whooping cough, which is a disease of all age groups” – warns the professor. Adam Antzak, chief of the General Pulmonology and Oncology Clinic at the Medical University of Lodz. He adds that the course of the disease can be particularly severe in young children (unfortunately, there is also an increasing number of unvaccinated residents here) and in people over 65 years old.
You can get whooping cough at any age. Research published by “Medycyna Practical” showed that adolescents and adults suffer more and more (a similar trend exists in other European countries and the USA). This is due to the disappearance of immunity to vaccines over time. Because the most effective way to prevent whooping cough is vaccination, as it is recommended for all adults. It is worth remembering that not being sick or vaccinated gives permanent immunity.
“The only way to protect yourself from vaccination is to repeat the vaccination every 10 years, the easiest way on the anniversary: 30, 40, 50” – says Dr. Love. n. med. Ernst Kochár, President of the Polish Gynecological Society, specializes in infectious diseases.
Pertussis vaccination according to the preventive vaccination program is recommended for all adults (from 19 years of age) as a single booster dose every 10 years.
Experts warn that whooping cough is different in adults than in children, and adults are more likely to complain of a prolonged cough. These non-specific symptoms make it difficult to correctly diagnose the disease. Joanna Baran, who had whooping cough like a cold, found out. – I did not expect that this time the disease will be more serious and it will take half a year for me to live and work normally – she said during a press conference.
The risk of infection is very high, because official statistics probably do not reflect the lethal scale of this infection. According to data provided by the My Patients Foundation, there may be, on average, 71 cases of unreported pertussis per reported case of pertussis in all age groups, and among the elderly (aged between 65-70) up to 320 unreported cases. The Foundation cites Polish research from 2009-2011.
Whooping cough, which is not treated or caught too late, can be very unpleasant in adults, as the cough can last for up to three months and cause complications such as pneumonia, hernias and incontinence. On average, four out of ten adults over the age of 60 develop complications of whooping cough, and the risk increases with age.
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