10 Symptoms of Whooping Cough

While its name doesn’t sound serious, whooping cough is a deadly illness with numerous fatalities in its wake. It mostly infects children and younger individuals who don’t yet have a fully developed immune system and are prone to much more intense complications than adults. The word “whooping” comes from the noise children make when inhaling after a cough. These restraining coughing fits can last for a few minutes at times, which have the potential to cause suffocation by rendering the sufferers unable to inhale for extended amounts of time. In spite of the advances in modern medicine, whooping cough still hasn’t been eradicated, even in the presence of various immunity enhancers. Most children receive a vaccine against whooping cough and other deadly illnesses in their early youth. However, sometimes even that barrier is broken by the invasive bacteria. Here are ten symptoms of whooping cough.

The Whooping

Probably the best way to know if someone has a whooping cough is to hear what noise they make when they inhale. Whooping cough is characterized by this unique sound that resembles a fusion between squeaking and wheezing. This occurs when the lungs are simply too tired and exhausted to inhale normally. Also, the vocal strings along with lung chambers are overexerted. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between a cold-induced hard cough and the whooping kind, but one can be almost certain of what they have if the unpleasant noise keeps repeating throughout the illness.

Runny Nose

The starting stages of whooping cough are quite similar to those of a common cold, which is why it’s diagnosed too late in most cases. Rarely anybody will go for a check-up because they have to sniffle and use tissues, but unfortunately, whooping cough will stay hidden without proper examination. A runny nose will last for a few weeks in those afflicted with whooping cough.


Sneezing often accompanies a runny nose, and in the case of whooping cough, it’s probably the number one reason why it’s so infectious. While most adults at least cover their faces while sneezing, children are much less likely to do so. In turn, sneezing exposes all of the child’s peers and close family to the risk of being infected themselves. As most of those that suffer from whooping cough are toddlers and young children, it’s not so difficult to understand why whooping cough claims so many lives every year (almost 50,000 in 2012). In spite of all the vaccines and other countermeasures, whooping cough manages to retain its deadly spree – mostly due to sneezing.

Low-Grade Fever

A low-grade fever is a highly common condition that remains overlooked and underestimated most of the time. When the infected individual develops a low-grade fever, it means the disease is starting to take its toll. Fever can be considered the doorstep of whooping coughs, as this is where everything begins to worsen. A low-grade fever is classified as an oral temperature that is over 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit but below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While this may not seem threatening, when it is also accompanied by other symptoms, it’s a reason to worry.


One of the terrifying symptoms of whooping cough is apnea. The word refers to an unusual cessation of breathing after the coughing fit, right after which the whooping sound can be heard. Apnea is caused by the complete overexertion of organs due to extreme coughing. It is the number one reason for infant mortality since their lungs are much more sensitive to air shortages.


For almost the same reasons as those related to apnea, those that suffer from whooping cough, especially children, are prone to vomiting after extensive and repeated coughing fits. The constant gasping and exhaling cause the gag reflex in the throat.


When a person with a strong cough feels tired every day, even while the presence of coughing fits is reduced, they’re likely experiencing the mid-stage of whooping cough. The body’s effort to combat the disease, along with the spreading infection and its destructive influence on the system, come together for a devastating combination. Consequently, this causes the body to feel extremely pressured and rid of energy, resulting in unwavering tiredness that doesn’t go away even with a full night of sleep.

Weight Loss

While it’s clear that everyone has a much more controlled diet when they’re combating an illness, there are still some lost pounds that don’t add up to the lack of consumption. This sudden weight loss is often either unnoticed or attributed to other factors, while it, in fact, means that the body is rapidly burning calories to fuel itself in the battle against the disease.


Those that have been suffering from whooping cough for a while tend to lose the desire to rest, as they’re used to constant exertion. This eventually results in the form of insomnia, where the sufferers refuse to try and get some rest. Almost anyone with any illness can fall asleep at one point, but those suffering from whooping cough will eventually lose the will to try. This is more than often a grave mistake that makes things even worse for the sufferer.

10. Rib Fractures

It’s hard to imagine that someone can break their rib by simply coughing, but with whooping cough, it’s rare but possible. It’s extremely hard for one to bruise or fracture their ribs due to coughing, but the enormous pressure caused by this disease can potentially do just that. This only happens in extreme cases, so it’s always good not to wait for this symptom and simply get an early check-up instead.