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Signs of Whooping Cough: The Metro Urgent Care Guide

Whooping cough (clinical term: pertussis) is fairly common during the fall and winter seasons. Its name derives from the “whooping” sounds many people omit. The cough’s intense iterations cause acute gasps for air, which causes that telltale symptom. However, many other signs of whooping cough exist, and this blog will help explain those warning signs, along with some other helpful information.

Any disease that’s also called the “100 day cough” deserves extra scrutiny. Prolonged cases of whooping cough have been shown to last 10-12 weeks and even longer, so the 100-day designation isn’t an exaggeration.

To help track the progression of whooping cough, the disease is generally broken up into 3 stages. Stage 1 lasts about two weeks, stage 2 approximately five to six weeks, and stage 3 around four weeks.

Pertussis starts out just like the common cold – sneezing, runny nose and a low-grade fever are usually present – but at the 7-10 day mark, the “whooping” sounds start, along with a host of other obvious – and sometimes serious – symptoms that can turn into a medical emergency.

Stage 2 of the disease includes symptoms such as:

  • Rapid, incessant coughing
  • Loud “whooping” sounds before, during and after coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Exhaustion
  • General pain in the abdominal area, rib cage and overall midsection region

Unfortunately, stage 2 lasts about six weeks. From weeks 9-12, stage 3 (also called the recovery stage) includes a slow and steady recovery, with small bouts of coughing, sluggishness and gradual restoration of energy levels.

Careful attention must be paid to infants, as they may not show obvious signs of whooping cough. Common symptoms with infants include gasping breaths or obvious signs of anguish. Vomiting can also occur. 80% of babies that contract whooping cough get the disease from someone in their home.

Whooping Cough FAQs

Now that we know what the major signs and symptoms of whooping cough are, here are some of the most common questions we receive at our urgent care clinics.

Q: Is whooping cough contagious?

A: Whooping cough is highly contagious, especially in younger children and the elderly. It spreads through the air via coughs and sneezes from infected people.

Q: How do you test for whooping cough ?

A: In order to get an accurate diagnosis, a complete blood count is usually ordered. One of the most common elements present in a whooping cough diagnosis is lymphocytosis, the medical term for an unusually high number of white blood cells. Nasal and throat swab tests are also administered, although these methods aren’t as precise as a blood test. All Metro Urgent Care walk-in clinics have fully functional blood testing capability, so if you require a blood test, we can help right away!

Q: Since whooping cough is contagious, how many people does it affect every year? What are the statistics on whooping cough?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2012 was considered a “peak year” for whooping cough, with nearly 50,000 confirmed clinical cases in the United States alone. But keep in mind, the actual number of whooping cough infections could easily double confirmed cases; people can be misdiagnosed, not seek medical attention, or succumb to other medical conditions.

Worldwide, the 1990 whooping cough season was historically significant. That year, there were approximately 138,000 deaths from the disease. Through the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, whooping cough was on the rise, but more effective treatments helped limit fatalities into the 21st century and up to the present day.

Q: What vaccines are used to fight whooping cough?

A: Two vaccines, DTP and DTaP, are very effective in preventing whooping cough, especially in developing countries. Roughly 9 of every 10 cases occur in Third World countries.

For Whooping Cough Diagnosis, Treatment and Recovery, Stop by Metro Urgent Care Today!

Don’t let whooping cough or any other infectious disease keep you down. As soon as you show signs of whooping cough, take action and seek help. Prompt medical treatment is critical in getting back on your feet, and Metro Urgent Care is all about prompt treatment – not to mention professional medical attention and precise diagnosis! We’ll give you certain tests for whooping cough to determine if you’re afflicted, and we’ll also implement or recommend a treatment program to make sure you recover as quickly as possible.

The statistics on whooping cough – just two years ago, the CDC reported nearly 33,000 confirmed cases – suggest that this contagious disease merits more than the mild level of attention it usually receives from media outlets and the medical community. However, it’s more widespread than you think. For seasonal ailments, injuries and regularly scheduled healthcare appointments, nobody beats Metro Urgent Care!

Thanks for stopping by the Metro Urgent Care blog, and if you have additional questions about certain signs of whooping cough, please stop by any of our urgent care centers, or call us at (303) 555-5555 . You can also send an email to our customer service team at [email protected].

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