Whooping Cough

Also called: Pertussis

Whooping cough is an infectious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable coughing. The name comes from the noise you make when you take a breath after you cough. You may have choking spells or may cough so hard that you vomit.

Anyone can get whooping cough, but it is more common in infants and children. It's especially dangerous for infants. The coughing spells can be so bad that it is hard for infants to eat, drink, or breathe.

To make a diagnosis, your doctor may do a physical exam, blood tests, chest x-rays, or nose or throat cultures.

Before there was a vaccine, whooping cough was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of childhood deaths in the U.S. Now most cases are prevented by vaccines. If you have whooping cough, treatment with antibiotics may help if given early.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Symptoms of Whooping Cough

The following features are indicative of Whooping Cough:
  • runny nose
  • nasal congestion
  • red, watery eyes
  • fever
  • cough
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • red or blue face
  • inhale with a whooping sound
  • apnea
It is possible that Whooping Cough shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Whooping Cough

The following are the most common causes of Whooping Cough:
  • Bordetella pertussis bacteria

Risk Factors for Whooping Cough

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Whooping Cough:
  • infants younger than 6 months old

Prevention of Whooping Cough

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Whooping Cough. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • get vaccinated against the pertussis

Occurrence of Whooping Cough

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Whooping Cough cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Whooping Cough can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Whooping Cough can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Whooping Cough

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Whooping Cough:
  • Nose or throat culture test: To detect the presence of whooping cough bacteria
  • Blood tests: To determine your white blood cell count
  • Chest X-ray: To evaluate the presence of inflammation or fluid in the lungs

Doctor for Diagnosis of Whooping Cough

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Whooping Cough:
  • Pediatrician
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Whooping Cough if untreated

Yes, Whooping Cough causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Whooping Cough is left untreated:
  • pneumonia
  • weight loss due to feeding difficulties
  • brain damage
  • seizures

Medicines for Whooping Cough

Below is the list of medicines used for Whooping Cough:

Self-care for Whooping Cough

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Whooping Cough:
  • Get plenty of rest: Makes you feel better
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Helps in relieving dehydration
  • Eat smaller meals: To avoid vomiting
  • Keep your home free of irritants: Prevents the coughing spells

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Whooping Cough

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Whooping Cough:
  • Use poppy petals: Helps in soothing cough

Time for Treatment of Whooping Cough

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Whooping Cough to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 3 months

Is Whooping Cough Infectious?

Yes, Whooping Cough is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • cough
  • sneeze

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Whooping Cough.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis Vaccines

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