Whooping cough is a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract. The bacteria invade the lining of the respiratory tract and airways, causing inflammation and increasing the secretion of mucus. It is very contagious, and in some cases can be serious.
Bleeding, swelling, and/or inflammation of the brain, possibly causing neurologic damage
Death (rare)—occurs more commonly in infants; mortality is 1%-2% before age one year.
The final stage is marked by slowly decreasing duration and severity of coughing spells. The average duration of illness is about six weeks, with a range or 3 weeks to 3 months. Fits of coughing may recur for months. In the majority of cases, patients fully recover.
Whooping cough can be difficult to diagnose, especially in older children and adults. This is because:
At first, symptoms are very similar to those of the
Later, symptoms can be very similar to
(especially in adults).
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include:
, are used. They are most effective when started in the early stages.
Treatment of Symptoms
To help reduce vomiting and lessen the chances of
Eat small, frequent meals.
Drink plenty of water, fruit juices, and clear soup.
This may be necessary for those who develop pneumonia. Patients are usually isolated to prevent spreading the disease to other people.
The best means of prevention is
DTaP (for children) and Tdap (for adolescents and adults) are vaccines that protect against
, and pertussis. The vaccine is given as a series of shots, which is usually started when a baby is two months old. But children seven years and older and adults who have not been vaccinated should also receive the series.
People in close contact with someone infected with whooping cough may be advised to take preventive antibiotics, even if they've been vaccinated. This is especially important in households with members at high risk for severe disease, such as children under one year of age.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a