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Q.

What are the symptoms of whooping cough?

Related Topics: Whooping Cough
 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Epidemiology
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62 Helpful Votes
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A.

It starts like a cold, with congestion and upper respiratory symptoms.  After a week or so, a cough develops.  The cough worsens over several days, and the coughing fits may be so severe that you can't stop or catch your breath. A coughing fit may be followed by a “whoop” as the person gasps to catch their breath.  It's these coughing fits, called paroxysms, which cause doctors to be worried about pertussis and try to confirm the diagnosis.

In people who have been vaccinated or who have had pertussis before, the symptoms may be nonspecific.  Pertussis is high on the list if that whoop is present, but if it’s absent, pertussis may go unrecognized.

It’s important to know that infants with pertussis don’t always cough.  In young babies, the first sign of pertussis may be difficulty breathing or pauses in breathing that last more than 20 seconds, called “apnea.”  Apnea is serious and requires immediate medical attention.

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Read the Original Article: Whooping Cough: What You Need to Know

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A.
For our infant (4mo) daughter, it started like a pretty normal cough.  5 days later, the cough had only gotten worse.  It went from one or two of the infant "double cough" pairs up to runs of 6 or 8 double cough pairs lasting more like ten seconds.  We took her to a walk-in clinic for a persussis swab that day, but she stopped breathing that night and turned blue.  We called the ambulance and it was a close call, but still, it's quite crazy how quickly it escalated.


If you don't hear the telltale "whoop", it can still be pertussis!  The whoop didn't show up for us until after we had the apnea episodes and were already checked into the hospital.  The $50 or whatever for a walk-in clinic could save your childs life.  If you end up in the hospital for a week like we did, it'll cost a lot more than that anyway.

If an infant is 6mo or older, I wouldn't be quick to run fearfully to the clinic, but for young ones, it's well worth the cautionary checkup if your child has had a cough for more than a few days.

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