Whooping Cough Risk Factors

Whooping cough is an unpleasant and painful illness characterized by a high-pitched noise as a person coughs. The cough sounds like a “whoop” and is highly contagious. Individuals who have whooping cough should be aware that they have an infection in the respiratory tract that requires treatment.

Risk Factors

Whooping cough may be contracted when an individual’s childhood vaccine wears off. Many people are treated for whooping cough when they are young. Over the years, the vaccine has a tendency to wear off. Additionally, you may be susceptible to the illness if you have not completed the full set of vaccinations.

Infants must be treated for whooping cough as soon as possible. Deaths rarely occur for adults who have whooping cough, but they may be associated with infants. Pregnant women should also receive vaccinations for whooping cough. Pregnant women can easily transfer the illness to their infants due to the close contact.


Whooping cough may only be recognizable after one to three weeks. Once you develop a whooping cough infection, you may slowly develop symptoms like a runny nose, dry cough, congestion, red eyes, sneezing, and a fever. After a couple of weeks, an individual with whooping cough may suffer from nausea, vomiting, and extreme fatigue. Breathing can become painful if you have whooping cough.

Whooping cough can also cause serious side effects. You may suffer from broken ribs, severe bruising, or broken blood vessels if you fail to receive treatment. Infants may be at risk for developing pneumonia, ear infections, dehydration, or even failure to breathe. Infants lack the proper immune system to fight off whooping cough. Parents should take an infant to the emergency room if they notice signs of the sickness. An infant may even suffer from brain damage if whooping cough is not properly treated.

Minimizing the Risks

To minimize the risk of receiving whooping cough, you should regularly use hand sanitizer and avoid contact with those who have the illness. The infection is spread through the growth of bacteria. If you inhale the bacteria of an individual who has whooping cough, you may develop the illness.

Parents should make sure they schedule vaccination appointments for their children. Parents should also check to ensure that a child has completed the full set of whooping cough vaccinations.


You should visit a doctor as soon as you experience the symptoms associated with whooping cough. He or she may give you an antibiotic and pain killers. A doctor will likely need to perform throat culture tests and blood tests. A doctor may also require that an X-ray if he or she suspects you have broken ribs.

In extreme cases, you may require emergency care. If whooping cough is left untreated, it can develop into serious illnesses like pneumonia. You should not hesitate to visit a walk-in clinic or the emergency room if you have symptoms of whooping cough.

Last Updated: October 24, 2016