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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is whooping cough?
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects mostly young children under the age of two years. It is a potentially serious condition that can cause major complications and even death.
What are the symptoms of whooping cough?
At first, the symptoms of whooping cough resemble those of the common cold. After a week or two, a distinctive whooping cough often appears, coming in fits of rapid coughs. It lasts for several weeks. Some individuals may have a non-specific cough …
What causes whooping cough?
Whooping cough is caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria. These bacteria infect the airways and cause inflammation.
How is whooping cough diagnosed?
Your doctor will diagnose whooping cough by your symptoms, particularly the distinctive cough. Your doctor may also wish to take a mucus sample from the throat to test for the presence of the pertussis bacteria, or carry out a blood test.
How is whooping cough treated?
Antibiotic treatment can help ease the symptoms of whooping cough if started early enough, and prevent further infection.
Can whooping cough be cured?
Whooping cough normally goes away naturally after a few weeks or months. In babies and young children, medical attention may be required.
What can be done at home to treat whooping cough?
For light cases of whooping cough, bed rest, drinking plenty of liquids and clearing mucus from the airways can help ease the symptoms.
Is whooping cough contagious?
Whooping cough is very contagious. A person infected with pertussis bacteria is very likely to infect others who come into contact with them, such as family members. The infection spreads via coughs and sneezes that spread the bacteria into the air and onto …
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 03 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Votes: 489 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: The flu (influenza)