Do you have a persistent cough and irritation in your upper-respiratory tract? These symptoms typically announce an infection of the influenza virus. Medication and rest will have you feeling better in a few days. However, if symptoms continue after 72-hours, it may be a sign of whooping cough infection.
Bordetella pertussis is the highly infectious bacteria responsible for the development of this condition. It damages the tiny hairs in your airways known as cilia. These hairs remove particulate debris from the air as you breathe. As a result, you develop a dry cough.
Infected individuals are contagious for seven days after exposure to the bacteria, and three weeks after manifesting coughing symptoms. During this stage, the bacteria spread to others via contact with body fluids.
Children are most at risk of contracting the virus. However, adults account for up to 25-percent of cases. Adults may misinterpret the symptoms of whooping cough infection with influenza. If you experience any of these flu-like symptoms listed below, consult your physician.
1. A Runny Nose
The first signs of whooping cough manifest on the second day after contracting the bacteria. Cells in your nose emit biochemicals to defend against infection, resulting in frequent sneezing. As the bacteria spread, the sinus produces a watery mucus to flush the bacteria.
In the following few days, the mucus thickens and turns to a yellow-green color, blocking the nasal cavities. The increase in sinus pressure creates pain behind the eyes and the forehead. Children are more sensitive to this pain than adults. It’s at this stage that their parents will take them to the doctors where they receive a diagnosis of the condition.
Adults will typically brush off these symptoms as a sign of the flu, allowing the bacteria to colonize. The sinus starts to produce catarrh, a mixture of white blood cells and mucus, resulting in post-nasal drip. Catarrh congestion in the throat and chest produce a phlegmy cough and slight wheezing.