Whooping cough (known clinically as pertussis) is caused by a bacterial infection of the respiratory system. Early symptoms mimic the common cold, but severe coughing spells and raspy breathing that makes a “whooping” sound are the most telltale symptoms.
Whooping cough was once responsible for the deaths of approximately 10,000 children each year. Luckily, today a vaccine is available and children can be immunized starting at 2-months of age and continue until the child is about 5- or 6-years-old. However, older children, teens, and adults can be at risk if their immunizations fade.
Here are eight signs that your child may have whooping cough…
1. Cold-Like Symptoms
The earliest sign of whooping cough begins approximately 10-days after typical cold-like symptoms, including sneezing, watery eyes, fatigue, muscle stiffness, and loss of appetite. Your child could experience other cold symptoms, such as a mild fever and mild cough. The thick mucus that develops from whooping cough can make it difficult to eat and drink, so your child may seem uninterested in eating. But, although it may seem like a side effect of a cold when your child doesn’t eat or drink anything, it can actually be a sign of whooping cough.
Because many of the signs of whooping cough mimic those of the common cold, it can be easy to pass it off as nothing serious and let it run its course. Adults may also get whooping cough. And it’s even more common to assume it’s a cold, because their symptoms of the infection may not be the same symptoms as a child’s.