Whooping cough is a very serious illness that can infect children and adults alike. Whooping cough is extremely contagious. As it affects the respiratory system, it is incredibly dangerous. The most telling symptom of whooping cough is a severe, hacking cough followed by a breath intake that sounds like a "whoop." Whooping cough can cause sinister health complications like pneumonia that can result in death. Luckily, there is a vaccine for whooping cough that is given to infants and children, and adults can get a booster every few years to maintain their protection.

Whooping cough is a very serious illness that can infect children and adults alike…

Whooping cough is extremely contagious. As it affects the respiratory system, it is incredibly dangerous. The most telling symptom of whooping cough is a severe, hacking cough followed by a breath intake that sounds like a "whoop." Whooping cough can cause sinister health complications like pneumonia that can result in death. Luckily, there is a vaccine for whooping cough that is given to infants and children, and adults can get a booster every few years to maintain their protection.

After becoming infected with whooping cough, the illness will incubate in your system for 7 to 10 days. During this time you are contagious, even though symptoms may not appear. Symptoms include runny nose, congestion, fever, and a cough. It is often mistaken for a cold at first. After a week or two, however, the symptoms will worsen. Patients may experience coughing fits so severe they provoke vomiting, patients may become extremely fatigued, and they may experience difficult breathing. 

Treatment for whooping cough is generally simple for adults. It can only be treated with antibiotics. There are no cough suppressants that are effective at treating the cough associated with whooping cough, and so they are discouraged. In infants, however, whooping cough has a high risk of fatality. Infants are usually hospitalized immediately after diagnosis. The only natural remedies for whooping cough are lifestyle changes to make recovery quicker, such as using a humidifier, getting plenty of fluid, and eating small meals to prevent vomiting after a coughing spell. If you are unsure if you should talk to your doctor about whooping cough, take this quiz to find out.