Whooping Cough Symptoms
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
Symptoms of Whooping Cough
Symptoms usually begin 1-2 weeks (at most, three weeks) after exposure to the bacterium. Initial symptoms last about 7-14 days. They include:
- Runny nose and congestion
- Watery, red eyes
- Mild fever
- Dry cough, which marks the onset of the second stage:
- The cough becomes progressively worse over days to weeks (usually lasting 2-6 weeks).
- Prolonged coughing spells come on suddenly and frequently end with a forceful inhale or whoop.
- The whoop is not often heard in young infants. They may gasp for breath or gag.
- In severe cases, coughing may cause a person to have trouble breathing or turn blue from lack of oxygen.
- Vomiting as a result of coughing is common.
Complications may include:
- Seizure Disorder
- Periods of apnea (no breathing)-more common in infants
- Collapsed lungs (rare)
- Abdominal and Groin Hernia
- 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.