Understanding the Stages of Pertussis

Pertussis is the medical term for whooping cough, a disorder characterized by an extended and severe cough. The cough can get so severe, in fact, that it can be difficult to breathe. In trying to catch your breath, you may make a distinct sound, which sounds like a “whoop.”

The most important point to note about pertussis is just how contagious it is, especially for those who have not had the vaccine. This makes the most vulnerable population, comprised of unvaccinated children and adults as well as infants who haven’t reached vaccination age, susceptible to complications like pneumonia.

PertussisHow Serious Is Pertussis?

In most cases, pertussis will not cause serious complications. This infection simply makes your life miserable for a few weeks or months, and eventually, with help from a medical professional and medication, your body is able to heal and rid itself of the harmful bacteria that causes whooping cough.

There are multiple stages of pertussis that you will go through, each with their own symptoms.

The first stage occurs about a week after you’re exposed to the bacteria. It includes symptoms commonly associated with a cold, like sinus problems, a low fever, and possibly a slight cough.

The second stage strikes over a week later with more severe symptoms. The cough will become violent, and you may experience long bouts of coughing that make it difficult to breathe. You may also experience more serious side effects resulting from the cough, including loss of consciousness or vomiting.

The third stage is when you start to feel better. Although you’re probably still coughing, the other symptoms subside and the cough is much more manageable. Keep in mind that the more severe symptoms may come back if you catch a cold.

It’s always a good idea to see a medical professional during the first stage of pertussis. Antibiotics can help ease your symptoms and clear up the infection faster if they’re taken during the first stage. The longer you wait, the more likely it will be that the cough will linger.

For a diagnosis and treatment options for either stage of pertussis, or if you’re just experiencing cold symptoms that are causing you discomfort, come to your neighborhood FastMed Urgent Care, Our medical professionals will provide prompt urgent care with a personal touch, and it’s always our goal to get you in and out of the clinic in an hour or less.

Check out our FAQs for more information about FastMed and how we provide medical treatment.

The content presented on this page is not intended to diagnose health problems or take the place of professional medical care.