Whooping Cough: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Shot of a man coughing while recovering from an illness on the sofa at home

Whooping cough is a respiratory infection that causes severe coughing spells. These can be so severe that you may have difficulty breathing or begin vomiting. If you have a cough that ends in a “whoop” sound and is so hard that you’ve felt tired or nauseous after coughing, you may have whooping cough. If you have noticed these symptoms in your child, your child may have whooping cough. It’s important to get treated for whooping cough to avoid any complications and to avoid spreading it to other people. If you’re concerned that you or your child has whooping cough and want to learn about it, continue reading for more information.

What Is Whooping Cough?

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is an infection known for its severe cough followed by an intake of air that sounds like a “whoop.” It is caused by the Bordatella pertussis bacteria, and this infection is very contagious. If you have whooping cough, you can infect up to 12 to 15 people, and you are most contagious two weeks after your cough begins.
At first, whooping cough looks like the common cold, but as the infection progresses, the cough becomes more violent and rapid. Coughing fits from whooping cough can continue for 10 weeks or more after your symptoms start. That’s why whooping cough is sometimes called the “100-day cough.”

Signs and Symptoms

You usually develop symptoms of whooping cough five to 10 days after being exposed to it. Sometimes, however, you won’t get symptoms for as long as three weeks after exposure.
Whooping cough symptoms are divided into three phases.

Phase One

In the first phase, you may have symptoms similar to the common cold for 1-2 weeks, such as:
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Fever
  • Cough

Phase Two

Then in the second phase, your symptoms can worsen. This phase is marked by the characteristic whooping cough. Your coughing may get so bad that you:
  • Vomit
  • Become red or blue in the face
  • Pass out
  • Become short of breath
  • Get extreme fatigue
  • Have a high-pitched “whoop” sound when you take in air

Phase Three

Then in the third phase, your cough becomes less frequent and less severe. During this phase, you continue to have coughing for up to several months as your body recovers.
You don’t always get the characteristic “whoop” with this infection. If you are an adult or adolescent, sometimes your only symptom is a persistent cough. If you have a baby who gets sick with whooping cough, they may not cough at all and instead may struggle to breathe or stop breathing. It’s important to speak with your doctor if you develop any symptoms like these to get the right diagnosis and treatment.

Source: https://www.symptomfind.com/health-conditions/whooping-cough-causes-symptoms-and-treatments?ueid=fd0fd971-926a-4255-b883-9252ea75b4a5

By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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