Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by bacteria. It can affect people of all ages, but it is especially dangerous for babies and young children. However, adults can also contract whooping cough, and it can be just as severe. In this article, we will explore what whooping cough sounds like in adults.
Symptoms of Whooping Cough
Whooping cough usually starts with cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, fever, and cough. However, the cough gets worse over time and can last for several weeks. The characteristic “whooping” sound occurs when the person tries to take a breath after a coughing fit. The sound is caused by the air rushing through the narrowed airways in the throat.
In addition to the whooping sound, adults with whooping cough may experience other symptoms such as:
- Severe coughing fits that can last for several minutes
- Fatigue and weakness
- Vomiting after coughing
- Difficulty breathing, especially during coughing fits
- Blue or purple tint to the skin, especially around the mouth and nose
Diagnosing Whooping Cough
If you suspect you have whooping cough, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam and take a sample of mucus from your nose and throat for testing. In some cases, a chest X-ray may also be necessary to check for complications such as pneumonia.
Treating Whooping Cough
There is no cure for whooping cough, but antibiotics can help to reduce the severity and duration of the illness. Your doctor may also recommend over-the-counter medications to help relieve coughing and other symptoms. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary to monitor breathing and provide oxygen therapy.
Preventing Whooping Cough
The best way to prevent whooping cough is to get vaccinated. The CDC recommends that children receive the DTaP vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 months of age, with booster shots at 15-18 months and 4-6 years. Adults should also receive a booster shot every 10 years to maintain immunity. It is also important to practice good hygiene habits such as washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
Whooping cough can be a serious illness, especially for babies and young children. However, adults can also contract whooping cough and experience severe symptoms. If you suspect you have whooping cough, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Remember to practice good hygiene habits and get vaccinated to help prevent the spread of whooping cough.