a man exhibits whooping cough symptoms

Whooping Cough Symptoms

The medical term for whooping cough is (Pertussis). It is a severe respiratory tract infection that closely resembles a cold and is most contagious before the patient begins to cough, usually between 2 - 7 days after infection.

Whooping Cough Information

Whooping cough is still common in many parts of the world, though there is a vaccination for it. The shot only lasts around 10 years. Pertussis is most commonly found in teenagers and adults, but it can affect anyone of any age. Whooping cough is contagious and it is passed from one person to another through the air that we breathe. If someone who has the infection and coughs without covering their mouth or turning their head,  then you can catch whooping cough breathing the contaminated air from their saliva. 

Most whooping cough symptoms are never even diagnosed as such. They are more often diagnosed as asthma or a virus. This happens because with pertussis, the cough attacks are very often spread out and it's not very often that a person's doctor even gets to witness an attack first hand.

Whooping Cough Symptoms

Although whooping cough is rarely diagnosed today, it has become more common today after it was thought to be almost eliminated in the United States.  Whooping cough can and usually is a long drawn out illness, lasting anywhere from three weeks to three months. In China, whooping cough has been named the 100-day cough. Pertussis information is not as readily available as it should be. During the first two to ten days of whooping cough, the patient will experience a slight sore throat, fever, fatigue, a dry cough, and a general feeling of being unwell.

About seven days into whooping cough,  the cough will become a little more productive causing the patient to cough up small amounts of clear phlegm and more severe bouts of coughing will begin. From two weeks on the symptoms of pertussis become much more severe with coughing attacks that last several minutes. 

During these coughing bouts, the patient will gasp for breath with a whoop between the coughs giving the illness its name. These coughing attacks often cause vomiting, choking, severe sinus congestion, loss of breath, and fainting. Even though these symptoms are frightening, most end on their own without medication and the patient is able to recover fairly quickly.

Whooping Cough Treatment

Most often whooping cough just has to run its course, there is no treatment available for whooping cough that cures the illness, but antibiotics may speed up the healing and prevent secondary infections. Pertussis  symptoms are not always easy to identify or treat. If a person is severely ill with whooping cough to the point of being hospitalized a doctor can give a steroid treatment that can help to reduce the severity of the illness along with a regiment of antibiotics to prevent further infection. This treatment is most often given to the very ill, very young, or very old patients with whooping cough.

Another scenario where this treatment would be considered is when a patient contracts pneumonia or bronchitis along with pertussis. In such a case as this, the patient would be given antibiotics to clear up the infection. Other than the above-mentioned treatments, the only other thing that a person can do is to stay as comfortable as possible. Using mouth moisturizing drops, hard candy or peppermint may help to sooth the patient's throat. Staying hydrated and sleeping in a sitting position will help too.

If you think that you may have whooping cough contact your physician as soon as possible.

Last Updated: September 19, 2017