What're the symptoms of whooping cough (Pertussis)?Symptoms of whooping cough typically last 6 to 10 weeks (but may last longer) and occur in three stages. The disease begins with a cold and a mild cough. After this, the typical coughing bouts set in. The coughing continues until no air is left in
the lungs. After this comes a deep intake of breath that produces a heaving, 'whooping' sound when the air passes the larynx (windpipe) that gives rise to the name of the disease. After about one week to 2 weeks, the dry cough becomes a wet cough that brings up thick, stringy mucus. At the same time, coughing begins to occur in long spells that may last for over a minute, sometimes causing a child to turn red from effort or blue from lack of oxygen. At the end of a coughing spell, the child gasps for air with a characteristic "whooping" sound. Infants may not whoop at all or as loudly as older children.
Severe coughing spells can lead to vomiting and may make it hard for a child to eat or drink. Severe coughing can also cause petechiae (tiny, red spots caused by ruptures in blood vessels at the skin's surface) in the skin of the upper body, as well as small areas of bleeding in the whites of the eyes. Coughing spells can continue for several weeks. Because adults and adolescents with pertussis may have milder symptoms, they may be thought to simply have "bronchitis."