Whooping Cough – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

Whooping cough is an infectious bacterial illness that affects the respiratory passages. The disease is most contagious during the cold-like initial phase (catarrhal phase). In its early stages, pertussis is indistinguishable from the many colds common in children. However, after one or two weeks, the illness gets progressively worse. Worldwide there are over 60 million cases of pertussis a year with more than half a million deaths. Whooping cough is still a very serious disease when it occurs in children under the age of one year old. Pertussis can be fatal, but in the United States, widespread vaccination against the infection has made the disease rare. In the more advanced stages, it’s marked by the symptom that gives the disease its name: a severe, hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like “whoop.” It is spread by droplets from the respiratory tract, rarely it may also spread on clothes, toys, etc. You can also become infected through direct contact with discharges from the nose or throat of an infected person.

Whooping cough exists everywhere in the world and can lead to a variety of diseases and complications, including death. Whooping cough in a recognizable form evolves over a period of 2 weeks. Sometimes the patient stops breathing after a severe bout of coughing, long enough to go blue. Occasionally the patient faints as well. It’s mainly affected infants who are younger than 6 months old before they are adequately protected by their immunizations, and kids who are 11 to 18 years old whose immunity has faded. With proper care, most teenagers and adults recover from whooping cough without complications. There is a danger that people with less severe, undiagnosed cases may spread the infection to infants who have not yet been immunized. Treatment of whooping cough is supportive, meaning that treatment is directed at the symptoms, e.g., cough; however, young infants often need hospitalization if the coughing becomes severe.

Causes of Whooping cough

The common causes and risk factor’s of Whooping cough include the following:

Whooping cough is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis .

It is spread through children from exposure to infected persons through droplets in the air.

Any one who is not protected (by recent immunisation or by having had the infection before) can get whooping cough, including older children and adults.

Underlying medical conditions are other medical conditions that may possibly cause Whooping Cough.

Symptoms of Whooping cough

Some symptoms related to Whooping cough are as follows:

Runny nose.


General feeling of being unwell and loss of appetite.

Dry cough.

Characteristic ‘whooping’ sound on inhalation.

A mild fever.

Vomiting at the end of a bout of coughing.

Watery eyes.

Cough can be started by many factors, including feeding, crying, or playing.

Treatment of Whooping cough

Here is list of the methods for treating Whooping cough:

Whooping cough is generally treated with antibiotics.

Drink plenty of fluids, including water, juices, soups, and fruits to prevent dehydration.

Isolation to prevent contagion.

Young babies with whooping cough are often so ill that they need hospital treatment. Feeding can be a problem because they often vomit after coughing. A baby may need tube feeding.

Eating small, frequent meals.

Use a cool mist vaporizer to help loosen secretions and soothe the cough.