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What is Whooping Cough?

Whooping cough also referred to as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection (RTI). In many people, it is marked by a serious hacking cough accompanied by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like “whoop.”

Before the whooping cough vaccine was developed, it was considered a childhood disease. Now whooping cough mainly affects children too young to have completed the entire course of vaccinations and teenagers and adults whose immunity has weakened.

Deaths related to whooping cough are uncommon but most commonly happen in infants. That is why it is so crucial for pregnant women and other people who will be in close contact with an infant to be vaccinated against whooping cough.

Whooping Cough Symptoms

Once you become infected with whooping cough, it takes about seven to ten days for signs and symptoms to appear, although it could sometimes take longer. They are often mild at first and resemble those of a common cold:

  •    Runny nose
  •    Nasal congestion
  •    Red, watery eyes
  •    Fever
  •    Cough

After a week or two, the signs and symptoms get worse. Thick mucus builds up inside your airways, causing uncontrollable coughing. Serious and prolonged coughing attacks might:

  •    Provoke vomiting
  •    Result in a red or blue face
  •    Cause extreme fatigue
  •    End with a high-pitched “whoop” sound at the time of the next breath of air

Although, many people do not develop the characteristic whoop. Sometimes, a continuous hacking cough is the only sign that an adolescent or adult has whooping cough.

Infants might not cough at all. Instead, they might struggle to breathe, or they might even momentarily stop breathing.

When should you see a doctor?

Call your doctor or primary care physician if prolonged coughing spells cause you or your child to:

  •    Vomit
  •    Turn red or blue
  •    Seem to have difficulty breathing or have significant pauses in breathing
  •    Inhale with a whooping sound

Whooping Cough Causes

Whooping cough is caused by a kind of bacteria known as Bordetella pertussis. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, little germ-laden droplets are sprayed into the air and breathed into the lungs of anyone who happens to be nearby.

Whooping Cough Risk factors

The whooping cough vaccine you receive as a child ultimately wears off. This leaves most teenagers and adults vulnerable to the infection during an outbreak and there continue to be regular outbreaks.

Infants who are younger than age twelve months who are unvaccinated or have not received the full set of recommended vaccines have the highest risk for serious complications and death.

Whooping Cough Complications

Teens and adults usually recover from whooping cough with no problems. When complications happen, they tend to be side effects of the strenuous coughing, like:

  •    Bruised or cracked ribs
  •    Abdominal hernias
  •    Broken blood vessels in the skin or the whites of your eyes


In infants particularly those younger than six months of age complications from whooping cough are more serious and might include:

  •    Pneumonia
  •    Slowed or stopped breathing
  •    Dehydration or weight loss because of feeding difficulties
  •    Seizures
  •    Brain damage

Read More : https://specialtycareclinics.com/blog/what-is-whooping-cough/



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