February 16, 2011

Whooping Cough is Back!

Illinois is seeing even more cases of whooping cough this year, as opposed to last year. Also known as Pertussis, this relatively obscure condition is most prevalent in teen-aged kids. Doctors are advising parents to get their teens immunized again. They are also targeting new parents as a protective measure for their new babies. This is happening all over the country, but the two schools hit most in the Chicago area are Highcrest Middle School and Carleton Washburne School.

Whooping cough was first diagnosed as such in the 16th century. The bacteria responsible, Bordetella pertussis, was identified in about 1906. This bacteria causes inflammation or swelling of the larynx or voice box. This causes the voice box to vibrate as the air is taken in during breathing. This makes a kind of whoop sound, hence its nickname. Other symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, fever, and the cough. As the condition progresses, symptoms accelerate to heavier and more frequent coughing. At the peak of sickness, a person can experience an inability to catch their breath and possible choking due to their gag reflex being triggered. As a person begins to recover, these attacks occur less and less over an average of two to three weeks, although a person’s immunity will take longer than that to build back up.

Below are some helpful tips for regaining your immune health and staying healthy this winter season. These suggestions are good for any season and for recovering from any condition.

*Keep your hands clean. A very high number of all germ transference takes place when your dirty hands come in contact with your face.

*Eat foods that are rich in Vitamin C, D, and A. Also, take your vitamins, especially if you are around school age kids.

*Get some exercise. Exercise helps with weight, brain activity, and circulation. It also builds up your immunity.

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