Cough - Symptoms and Treatment
Cough is one of the most common reasons for visits to health care providers. Normal coughing is important to keep your throat and airways clear. However, excessive coughing may mean you have an underlying disease or disorder.
A cough protects the lungs by raising sputum and irritating substances, but it can prove distracting to the athlete during exercise or sleep. A cough can decrease or prevent athletic participation. Coughs are of two types:
Whooping cough is caused by a bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. It is spread through children from exposure to infected persons through droplets in the air. Once the bacteria is in the child's airways, swelling of the airways and mucus production begins.
This disease can be prevented with proper immunizations using the pertussis vaccine. This is usually part of the DTaP vaccine - or the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. This vaccine is usually given to children at 2, 4, 6, and 15 to 18 months of age, with a booster at 4 to 6 years of age. The acellular pertussis vaccine now recommended produces fewer adverse reactions than the older vaccine.
Signs and symptoms
Whooping cough begins like a cold. The symptoms can rapidly progress to include:
DiagnosisThe diagnosis is usually made from the symptoms and the history of contact with a person suffering from whooping cough. Your doctor will also conduct a thorough physical examination, paying particular attention to your nasal passages, throat, lungs, heart, and legs. Depending on what is suspected from the history and physical exam, your doctor may order cultures of the sputum (if you have a productive cough that may be bacterial), an electrocardiogram (EKG), lung function tests, or X-rays of your chest or sinuses
In its early stages, the symptoms of whooping cough can be reduced by taking antibiotics. Treatment will reduce the risk of passing the infection to others, if it is given in the first 21 days of the illness. Members of the patient's family are at increased risk of acquiring the disease, and are usually prescribed erythromycin as a preventative measure, regardless of whether or not they are fully vaccinated.
To relieve symptoms, you may use non-prescription drugs, such as throat lozenges or cough remedies containing dextromethorphan. Avoid cough remedies with codeine if you are planning to continue to exercise and compete.
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