ABC Medical Center > Whooping cough

What is Whooping cough?

21:56 - 4 May , 2021


It is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection. Its main physical manifestations are intense dry coughing fits and trouble breathing that causes a whistling sound during inhalation.

When there was no vaccine, whooping cough, also known as pertussis, was exclusively a childhood condition, while today it attacks infants without a vaccine and young people and adults who, despite having been vaccinated as children, they lost the antibodies generated.

The bacteria that produce this condition is called Bordetella pertussis, which spreads through the organic fluids emitted when speaking, coughing, or sneezing, which can be breathed in or deposited on a surface that, when touched by someone, can be a source of infection.

Mortality from whooping cough is low, but when it occurs, it does so mainly in babies, hence the importance of the mother being vaccinated during pregnancy.

Signs and symptoms Whooping cough

When there is an infection, the symptoms take between eight and 12 days to appear, being mild at the beginning:

  • Mucus.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Red eyes.
  • Tearing.
  • High fever.
  • Dry coughing fits.

They worsen after a week:

  • Excessive high-viscosity mucus.
  • Severe congestion in the respiratory tract.
  • Uncontrollable coughing fits.
  • Vomit.
  • Exhaustion.
  • High-pitched noises and wheezing when inhaling.
  • Bluish or flushed face.

If you or your child experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away to get immediate treatment and avoid complications such as:

In young people and adults (from coughing continuously): 

  • Rib fractures.
  • Herniated abdomen.
  • Rupture of cutaneous or ocular blood vessels.

In babies:

  • Dehydration.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Brain damage.
  • Seizures.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Serious breathing problems.

Diagnosis and treatment Whooping cough

At first, it is not easy to diagnose due to its similarity to other respiratory diseases symptoms, so various tests are required to identify whooping cough, such as blood tests, nasopharyngeal culture, and chest X-ray.

Being the most vulnerable segment to this disease, babies must be treated in hospitals where they receive antibiotics, saline solution, and other necessary care for their recovery, isolating them so as not to spread the infection.

In young people and adults it is not usually serious, so hospitalization is not needed.

At the ABC Medical Center Internal Medicine Department we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies, of chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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