Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a bacterial infection of the lining of the respiratory tract (breathing tubes). It is known as whooping cough because of the "whooping" sound that people make when gasping for air after a fit of coughing.
Early symptoms of pertussis mimic that of a common cold (runny nose, watery, red eyes, fever, sneezing, feeling unwell).
Other symptoms include:
Not wanting to eat
Dry cough- that gets worse over about 2 weeks, and can last for months
Long coughing spells
Sudden coughing spells
Whooping sound, as they try to get their breath (not always heard)
The face may change colour-red or bluish, while coughing
Small blood vessels in the skin of the face may break, causing small red spots on the skin
Coughing may be worse at night
Vomiting (throwing up) because of the amount of coughing
You should see a doctor for:
Slow or stopped breathing spells
Signs of dehydration (dry mouth, extreme thirst, little or no urine/pee)
Coughing up green or yellow mucus
Signs of a hernia: bulging spots in the abdomen (stomach)
Whooping cough is very contagious. It is spread by sneezing and coughing.
It is generally treated with antibiotics, which are used to control the symptoms and to prevent infected people from spreading the disease.
Talk to your family doctor or other health care provider
Visit HealthLink BC or call 8-1-1 for free
Get the facts about whooping cough at the VCH Communicable Disease Control website: sneezesdiseases.com/pertussis