Looking closer at Whooping Cough

Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is a respiratory tract infection that affects mostly children, but can affect adults as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 48,277 cases of whooping cough in the United States in 2012. Each year, there are 16 million cases worldwide, and the number of people dying from whooping cough is about 195,000. Here is some information that will help you recognize this illness, and take the right steps to avoid it or get rid of it.


In the beginning stages of whooping cough, it will seem as if you have a cold. The symptoms include: runny nose, sneezing, congestion, a fever, and a dry cough. As the infection continues, you will lose the cold symptoms but have a cough that makes a whooping noise as you breath in between coughs. You cannot control your coughing, and you may even vomit. This happens because mucus is building in your airways, making it difficult to breathe. Physically, you may feel fine between coughing attacks, but it can make you feel extremely tired. Whooping cough can last between 2 and 4 weeks.


In order to avoid contracting whooping cough, the best thing to do is be vaccinated when you are young. If you already are showing symptoms, antibiotics are necessary to help stop the infection. Since it is contagious, make sure you are washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough, and avoiding others to stop it from spreading to those around you.