Whooping cough is caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria. It is highly contagious and spreads by coughing, sneezing and even breathing.Find a CareNow® clinic near you
What are whooping cough symptoms?
Early symptoms include low-grade fever, a runny nose and a mild cough. After several days, more serious symptoms may appear:
- Violent coughing fits, often followed by a “whoop”
- Throwing up during or after a coughing fit
- Extreme tiredness after a coughing fit
Whooping cough can cause apnea, or a temporary stopping of breathing, in infants. Contact a healthcare provider immediately if a baby is gasping for breath.
Call 911 and go to the ER if an infant or child has any of these symptoms:
- Bluish skin
- Pause in breathing (even a second)
- High fever
- Frequent vomiting
How is whooping cough treated?
Consult a healthcare provider if you notice symptoms. Prescription antibiotics can shorten the illness.
These tips can reduce symptoms:
- Get rid of irritants that make coughing worse, such as dust, smoke or fumes
- Use a humidifier to soothe coughs
- Eat smaller meals to prevent throwing up
- Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
- Avoid cough medicines because they can cause harmful side effects
How does the whooping cough vaccine work?
Healthcare providers recommend a pertussis vaccine for prevention. The whooping cough vaccine comes in a combination shot. The recommendation for children younger than 7 is a DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine. The recommendation for anyone older than 7 is a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) booster vaccine. Consult a healthcare provider to discuss your options.
Consult a healthcare provider if you have whooping cough symptoms. Visit your nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic for diagnosis and treatment or to discuss vaccination options.
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