ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Pertussis? Symptoms Complications Treatment and Prevention

Updated on July 14, 2012


Pertussis, or the more familiar term, Whooping Cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

Pertussis is spread to others by direct contact. If one has close contact with someone infected, secretions from the nose, throat and mouth of an infected person may be easily transmitted through droplets from a cough or sneeze.

It is difficult to know the signs of Pertussis until it appears as such. Pertussis appears as a common cold with a cough, however, the cough eventually becomes worse. The bacteria within causes the breathing tubes to narrow, to inflame. Therefore the infected person finds him/herself gasping for air that leads to vomiting and/or a high-pitched "whoop" sound.

A person with pertussis may be contagious 2 weeks prior and up to 2 weeks after symptoms begin. That is why it is especially important to remember to wash your hands regularly and cover your cough. And if you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with infants, especially those who are under 12 months of age.

Anyone with pertussis should not attend childcare, school, work, or other public places until they have completed 5 days of an appropriate antibiotic treatment.

Sounds of Pertussis

Symptoms of Pertussis

Symptoms of Pertussis are:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Red, watery eyes
  • A mild fever
  • Dry cough

As previously stated, Pertussis can resemble a cold. Symptoms usually appear 3-12 days after infection. Although it is hard to determine if a regular cold or Pertussis there are a couple things that can make it clearer.

Pertussis does not cease with the use of over-the-counter medication. Symptoms remain. Also, the coughing fits tend to worsen at night.

After a week or two of being affected the symptoms worsen:

  • Coughing with thick phlegm discharge
  • Coughing leads to vomiting
  • Coughing attacks cause a red or blue face
  • Coughing causes extreme fatigue
  • High-pitched "whoop" sound is present

If these symptoms are present but the "whoop" is not, that DOES NOT mean you aren't infected. Not everyone gets the "whoop" sound. A persistent hacking cough is a clear sign of infection, infants are more prone to the "whoop."

A Mothers Story


Infants, especially those younger than 4 months, are typically hospitalized. Hospitalization is required to monitor the infants tolerance of coughing spells, to make sure the infant is receiving proper nutrients and hydration, and to monitor the childs Oxygen sats.

For teens or adults the treatment is antibiotics- if treated ealry enough! Unfortunately, most patients are diagnosed too late, when antibiotics aren't very effective.But, by taking the antibiotics it can reduce the spread to others.


The DTaP vaccination is your best defense. They are usually given to children at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years. Tdap booster for adolescents and adults.

According to the CDC, since the 1980s, there's been an increase in the number of cases of pertussis, especially among teens (10–19 years of age) and babies less than 6 months of age. In 2009 there were nearly 17,000 reported cases including 14 deaths from pertussis nationally.

Pertussis is hitting even harder this year.

  • California states they have the most cases reported in over 63 years!
  • In Ohio, Columbus Public Health (CPH) and Franklin County Board of Health (FCBH) are responding to an outbreak of pertussis during 2010. As of November 27, there were 854 cases reported by Columbus and Franklin Counties for this year
  • In Michigan, an increase in pertussis was first observed in the second half of 2008, continued throughout 2009, and has continued to date throughout 2010

The main reason Whooping Cough is back in the news is lack of children being vaccinated. Also, parents immunizations are fading in effectiveness, meaning they can transfer it to their very young children without being aware.


Pertussis is not a cold that will fade, it is a serious, highly contagious illness that needs to be stopped in it's tracks!

Get yourself a booster and make sure your children are vaccinated. The complications are too risky for anyone.

Complications of Pertussis:


  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • Pneumonia
  • Apnea (stop breathing or slowed breathing
  • Ear Infections
  • Fatigue
  • Death

Teens and Adults

  • Rib Fractures
  • Weight Loss
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Abdominal Hernia
  • Fatigue

The last thing this World needs is another pandemic to worry about. But that is exactly where we are headed unless we get ourselves and our children vaccinated against Pertussis. Stay informed and make the right decision for you and your loved ones...


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)