What are the symptoms of whooping cough?

The symptoms of whooping cough typically begin seven to 10 days after becoming infected with the bacteria that cause whooping cough, although the incubation period can last several weeks. This means that you can be infected with the bacteria that cause whooping cough, Bordetella pertussis, and not develop symptoms for several weeks. An infected person is most contagious during the early stages of disease and after the onset of cough.

Early symptoms of whooping cough may be mild and include:

  • Low-grade fever

  • Mild, dry cough

  • Runny nose

Within a few days to a week, the symptoms of whooping cough become worse:

  • Coughing that produces thick phlegm

  • Fatigue

  • Reddened face that can become blue (cyanotic) during coughing fits due to a lack of oxygen in the body

  • Severe coughing episodes followed by a characteristic whooping sound made when gasping for air. The whooping sound is particularly evident in young children.

  • Severe coughing episodes that can last up to one minute

  • Vomiting following an episode of coughing

INTRODUCTION

What is whooping cough?

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease caused by a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract. Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. The hallmark symptoms of whooping cough are violent coughing fits followed by a whooping sound made as a person gasps for air.

Whooping cough is highly preventable through vaccination.... Read more about whooping coughintroduction

CAUSES

What causes whooping cough?

Whooping cough is caused by an infection of the respiratory tract by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Whooping cough spreads from person to person when someone with the disease coughs, talks, or sneezes. This shoots droplets contaminated with B. pertussis bacteria into the air where they can be inhaled by others. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious disease. An ... Read more about whooping coughcauses

TREATMENTS

How is a whooping cough treated?

Treatment of whooping cough is most effective when started early in the disease process, preferably before the onset of any violent coughing attacks. Treatment of whooping cough includes:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 30, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases


Popular Infections and Contagious Diseases Slide Shows