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By AAA Pediatrics
February 07, 2019
Category: Pediatric Care
Tags: Whooping Cough  

Named after the characteristic sound of its notorious coughing fits, whooping cough is an extraordinarily uncomfortable condition that typically manifests itself in babies and in children ages 11 to 18 whose vaccine-provided immunities have begun to fade. In addition to causing several debilitating symptoms, whooping cough also carries the possibility of infant mortality, particularly for patients under 12 months old. Further complicating the matter, initial symptoms often resemble a common cold, making quick detection a tricky task. To be more proactive in the treatment and prevention of this disease, read below to learn the basics on whooping cough and how to best go about alleviating it.

What is Whooping Cough?

Officially diagnosed by the name pertussis, whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that resides within the nose and throat. Whooping cough is spread through airborne bacteria produced by an infected person’s sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Once whooping cough has been contracted, the apparent symptoms begin in an identical fashion to the common cold. That includes:

  • Runny nose

  • Mild cough

  • Fever (below 102 F)

  • Congestion and sneezing

After a week to 10 days, these symptoms begin to grow worse. Mucus thickens and starts to coat the patient’s airways, leading to rampant and prolonged coughing. These fits can be so violent that that they may cause vomiting, lengthy periods of extreme fatigue, and result in blue or red face. This last sign is the direct outcome of the body’s struggle to fill the lungs with air, and once breathing is finally achieved, the loud “whooping” sound that defines the condition is produced.

What are the Dangers of the Disease?

If left untreated, whooping cough can produce a number of painful and dangerous complications, with the specific ailments depending on the age of the patient.

For teens and adults, untreated whooping cough can result in:

  • Abdominal hernias

  • Bruised or cracked ribs

  • Broken blood vessels in the skin and whites of the eyes

For infants, complications from whooping cough are a great deal more severe. They include:

  • Pneumonia

  • Slowed or stopped breathing

  • Feeding difficulties, which may lead to dehydration and severe weight loss

  • Seizures

  • Brain damage

What Can I Do About It?

The best approach to preventing the disease is through vaccination. This is especially important for babies, as whooping cough leaves them in significant danger, though it is essential to keep your children on regular vaccination schedules, regardless of their individual age.

While vaccines are extremely effective in reducing the likelihood of contracting whooping cough, the possibility of developing the condition is still present. Due to this perpetual risk, if you witness your child’s cold symptoms continuing to worsen, arrange an appointment with their local pediatrician to find out if the problem may be whooping cough. If diagnosed early enough, antibiotics can be used to cut down on the painful symptoms and prevent the infection from spreading to others.

Concerned? Give Us a Call

Whooping cough is a serious condition that can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. If you have any suspicions that your child may have developed this condition, give us a call today!

By AAA Pediatrics
August 22, 2017
Category: Children's Health
Tags: flu   Common Cold   Whooping Cough   Illness   Strep throat  

One of the rites of passage of parenting is dealing with childhood illnesses. At AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, Virginia, our staff's mission is illnessto support parents and help children as they navigate pediatric issues like the common cold, flu, strep throat, and pertussis. Below, Dr. Oscar Sugastti and Dr. Griselda Meza discuss these illnesses and how they're treated.

Common cold

Who hasn't experienced the runny nose, sneezing, coughing and achy feelings that the common cold brings? According to the Centers for Disease Control, a common cold is the most common infectious disease that a human can get, and kids are more likely to pick up the viruses that cause it due to an immature immune system and less stringent hygiene. To lessen their chances of getting a cold or passing one to others, your Woodbridge pediatrician advises parents to make sure kids are washing their hands frequently and staying home from school when they're exhibiting the signs of a cold.


The flu, short for influenza, can be thought of like a major cold. Both are caused by viruses and have similar symptoms, although the fever with the flu is typically higher and the symptoms tend to start with a dry, scratchy throat, while colds typically begin with a runny nose. Flu vaccinations from your Woodbridge pediatrician can lessen the likelihood of getting the flu, but if your child should happen to have it, there are anti-viral medications available to shorten the infection's duration and help prevent complications like pneumonia. It should be noted that the "stomach flu" is not actually caused by an influenza virus; other viruses or bacterial infections are typically responsible for nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that accompany this illness.

Strep throat

One of the most common illnesses that keep kids out of school and keep your Woodbridge pediatrician busy is strep throat, a bacterial illness that is caused by the Group A strain of streptococcus bacteria. Diagnosed from testing a cotton swab that is touched to the tonsils; strep's classic features include a sore throat, fever, and headache. A round of antibiotics generally clears up strep in a week or so.

Whooping cough

Also known as pertussis, whooping cough is a bacterial infection that starts out with similar symptoms to a cold: fever, runny nose and cough. However, the cough associated with pertussis progresses into uncontrollable coughing fits that can last as long as 10 weeks. The gasping breaths that people take in between coughing can make a "whoop" sound, hence the nickname. While pertussis is often simply annoying for adults, it can be life-threatening for very young children.

For diagnosis and treatment of these and many other pediatric illnesses, contact AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, Virginia, to make an appointment with Dr. Sugastti or Dr. Meza!

By AAA Pediatrics
August 15, 2017
Category: Pediatric Illness
Tags: Whooping Cough  

When your child is sick, it can take a toll on not only them, put you as a parent. Your pediatrician is available to help you restore the health of your child. Whooping cough is an infection of the respiratory system that is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis (or B. pertussis). This sickness is characterized by severe coughing spells, which can sometimes end in a “whooping” sound when the person breathes in.Children Whooping Cough

Whooping cough mainly affects infants younger than 6 months old before immunizations, and kids 11 to 18 years old whose immunity has started to fade adequately protect them. With help from your pediatrician, you can find relief for your infant from whooping cough.

The Signs and Symptoms

The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a common cold:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Mild cough
  • Low-grade fever

After about 1 to 2 weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells, which can last for more than a minute. When a coughing spell occurs, the child might turn red or purple, and at the end of the spell, they may make a characteristic whooping sound when breathing in. 

By visiting your pediatrician, you can take the next step toward helping your child feel better once again.