Whooping cough

Whooping cough

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

ICD-10: A37.9.

Alternative Name: Pertussis.

Whooping cough is a serious bacterial infection which is caused by Bordetella pertussis or B. parapertussis bacterium. These bacteria attach to the cilia (tiny, hair-like extensions) that line part of the upper respiratory system. The bacteria release toxins, which damage the cilia and cause inflammation (swelling). This can cause inflammation that narrows breathing tubes in your lungs. This narrowing leaves you gasping for air (resulting in sucking of air with a high-pitched "whoop") just after frequent coughing.

Whooping cough

Whooping cough is a very contagious disease and is spread from person to person. People with whooping cough usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria. Many infants who get whooping cough are infected by older siblings, parents or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease

The CDC reports that they are seeing a higher than average number of people who are becoming ill with whooping cough even though they have been vaccinated. They theorize that this is either because the inoculation is not effective for as long as they originally thought or that the bacteria has mutated and the whooping cough people are catching is not the whooping cough they are inoculated against.


Signs May Include:

    You have a cough lasting more than seven days.

  • You have prolonged coughing spells, which may leave youshort of breath.

  • The cough gets worse at night and may interfere with sleep.

  • Gagging or vomiting may follow the cough spell.

  • Cough medicine does not help.

  • You develop a cough of any duration after being in close contact with a pertussis case within the past three weeks.

Early Symptoms:

    Runny nose.

  • Low-grade fever.

  • Sneezing.

  • Mild cough.

  • Sore throat.

Symptoms after 1-2 Weeks

Symptoms can get worse fast and can last for months.


  • Problems breathing.

  • A red or blue face.

  • Extreme tiredness.

  • “Whoop” sound.

  • Sweating spells.


The differential diagnoses of pertussis include infections caused by other etiologic agents, including adenoviruses, respiratory syncytial virus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae and other Bordetella species such as B. parapertussis, and rarely B. bronchoseptica or B. holmseii. Despite increasingawareness and recognition of pertussis as a disease that affects adolescents and adults, pertussis is over-looked in the differential diagnosis of cough illness in this population.

The initial diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms, complete medical history and physical examination. In very young infants, the symptoms may be caused by pneumonia instead.

The proper diagnosis of whooping cough is often confirmed with a culture taken from the nose. The health care provider may take a sample of mucus from the nose nasal secretions and send it to a lab, which tests it for whooping cough.A test usually involves passing a swab on a wire through a nostril to the back of the throat and sending it to a medical lab to culture the material. This may take 5 to 7 days. If Bordetella pertussis grows this is usually taken as proof that it is whooping cough.

CBC shows large numbers of lymphocytes.

Antibody tests are done by some laboratories on blood samples taken after several weeks of illness. By looking at IgG and IgA antibodies to fimbria, pertussis toxin and filamentous haemagglutinin (FHA), it is possible to say whether it is likely the patient has had whooping cough. It is a highly specialized test and you may have difficulty finding a lab able to do it.


Whooping cough shots prevent the disease. Everyone needs to be up-to-date on their whooping cough shots (DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and accellular pertussis) for kids younger than 7 years; or Tdap for older ages). Newborn babies are too young for the shots. Immunity from the disease or the shots wears off, so people 11 years and older need a booster shot.

Pharmacological Treatment Options May Include:

There are four antibiotics recommended for the treatment of pertussis that will shorten the period of communicability. Your doctor may chose one of these antibiotics for treatment. The appropriate antibiotics include either a 5-day course of azithromycin, a 7-day course of clarithromycin or a 14-day course of either erythromycin or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxozale (TMP/SMX). Persons with pertussis should be isolated from school, work or similar activities until they have completed at least the first 5 days of an appropriate antibiotic therapy. The remaining doses of antibiotics need to be taken as prescribed.

Herbal Treatment Options May Include:

    Honey - Add a tablespoon of honey to a glass of boiling water and drink as needed. This will give a soothing effect to the throat and will help to cure whooping cough fast.

  • Ginger - 10 mL of ginger juice with equal quantity of honey may provide relief to whooping cough, you may take it two times daily.

  • Aloe vera juice - Mix equal parts of aloe vera juice and honey and take a tablespoon or two before you suspect an attack for whooping cough. Good for a smoker's cough.

  • Alfalfa leaves - Alfalfa leaves have wonderful healing powers that can prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol and help prevent strokes, overall helping to prevent whooping cough.

  • Almond oil - Almond oil is also a good remedy for curing pertussis. Mix five drops of almond oil with ten drops of fresh white onion juice and ginger juice. This mixture can be taken three times a day.

  • Calamus - A pinch of the powder of the roasted calamus can be given with a teaspoon of honey. This will provide relief in whooping cough to the patient. Being antispasmodic, it prevents severe bouts of coughing. For smaller children, the dose must be proportionately smaller.

  • Castor Oil - You may take castor oil by mixing it with cow's milk. This will help you treat whooping cough fast.

  • Onion: A syrup prepared by combining 1 tablespoon raw onion juice with 1 tablespoon of honey is very beneficial for curing whooping cough. Take 1 teaspoon of it daily.

Essential oils that have the best track record in dealing with whooping cough may include:


  • Ravensara.

  • Black Cumin.

  • Tea Tree.

  • Basil.

  • Lavender.

  • Spice for Life blend.

  • Clary Sage.

  • Oregano.

  • Thyme.

  • Cypress.

  • Fennel.

  • Helichrysum.

  • Eucalyptus.

  • Grapefruit.

  • Cinnamon.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Poor Oral Health Connected to Increased Risk of Liver Cancer

Poor Oral Health Connected to Increased Risk of Liver Cancer

According to a large study from the United Kingdom, people with poor oral health, including sore or bleeding gums or loose teeth, are at 75% higher risk of developing liver cancer. For the study, a team of researchers analyzed data from 469,628 people, among whom...

[WpProQuiz 1]

Featured Products

Kangoo Jumps Training: 5 Beginner Exercises

In childhood, many of us dreamed of learning to jump high. Now, after years, it became easier - Kangoo Jumps has appeared. This is one of the relatively new, but quickly gaining popularity types of fitness training. There are several advantages of jumpers. ...

read more
All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove