Rejan's cough

Rejan's cough

Whooping cough or pertussis is a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract and lungs. This disease is very contagious and can be life-threatening, especially when it attacks babies and children.

Whooping cough ( whooping cough ) is usually characterized by a string of harsh coughs that occur continuously. In general, whooping cough is often started with a characteristic long, shrill breathing sound that sounds like " whoop ". This condition can cause the sufferer to have difficulty breathing.


Although both are characterized by a persistent cough, pertussis is different from tuberculosis (TB). In addition to being caused by different types of bacteria, tuberculosis usually causes coughing for more than 2 weeks, night sweats, drastic weight loss, and coughing up blood.

Causes of whooping cough

Whooping cough is caused by Bordetella pertussis bacterial infection in the respiratory tract. This bacterium spreads when a person inhales droplets from a person with whooping cough or touches an exposed object.

Anyone can get whooping cough, but the risk of getting this disease is higher in some people with the conditions below:

  • Age below 1 year or above 65 years
  • Have not undergone or completed pertussis vaccination
  • Living or visiting an area with a pertussis epidemic
  • is pregnant
  • Frequent contact with pertussis sufferers
  • Suffering from obesity
  • Has a history of asthma

Whooping cough symptoms

Bordetella pertussis bacteria that enter the body will release toxins and cause inflammation in the respiratory tract. The patient's body then responds by increasing the production of mucus to catch the bacteria, which is then expelled through continuous coughing.

As a result of the non-stop coughing, the sufferer reflexively takes a long and fast breath until a whooping sound occurs which is a typical symptom of whooping cough.

Symptoms of whooping cough generally only appear 5-10 days after a person has been exposed to Bordetella pertussis bacteria in the respiratory tract. Based on the stage, the symptoms of whooping cough include:

Early stage ( catarrhal phase )

In the early stages, the symptoms of whooping cough last for 1–2 weeks and are usually similar to the symptoms of a cold . Sufferers may experience mild cough, sneezing, runny nose or stuffy nose, red and watery eyes, and mild fever .

Although the symptoms are mild, at this early stage the sufferer is at risk of transmitting bacteria to others through spitting when coughing or sneezing.

Advanced stage (paroxysmal phase)

After the initial stage, whooping cough sufferers experience advanced stage symptoms that last for 1-6 weeks. At this stage, the symptoms experienced can get worse and cause various complaints, such as:

  • Continuous hard coughing accompanied by a " whoop " sound when taking long breaths between coughs
  • The face looks red or bluish when coughing
  • Vomiting after coughing
  • Feeling very tired after coughing
  • Difficulty breathing

In addition to getting worse, the duration of whooping cough at an advanced stage can last more than 1 minute. The frequency also becomes more frequent, especially at night.

Recovery phase ( convalescent phase )

The recovery stage of whooping cough can last for 2-3 weeks. At this stage, the severity and frequency of symptoms begin to subside gradually. However, the cough can recur for several months if the sufferer has a respiratory tract infection.

If it affects babies or children, whooping cough often does not cause symptoms. However, the baby can experience complaints in the form of temporarily stopped breathing (apnea) and the baby's skin looks blue due to lack of oxygen.

When should you go to the doctor?

Immediately check with a doctor if you or your child experiences symptoms of whooping cough as described above, especially if you have not received the pertussis vaccine. Examination and treatment should be given immediately to prevent more serious complications.

You are also recommended to immediately check yourself if you suffer from respiratory tract disorders, heart disease, and obesity. The purpose is to find out the cause of the cough experienced and control your health condition.

Diagnosis of whooping cough

To diagnose whooping cough, the doctor will ask questions about the symptoms experienced, the patient's health history, accompanied by a thorough physical examination. Next, the doctor will perform a supporting examination to confirm the diagnosis. The inspection includes:

  • Test mucus samples from the nose or throat, to see if the patient's sputum contains Bordetella pertussis bacteria
  • A blood test , to see an increase in the level of white blood cells (leukocytes), which indicates the presence of infection
  • Chest X -ray photo , to see the condition of the lungs and respiratory tract, including seeing signs of inflammation, such as infiltrates or fluid accumulation

Whooping cough treatment

Whooping cough treatment aims to overcome bacterial infection, relieve symptoms, and prevent disease transmission. Some treatments that can be done are:

Administration of antibiotics

Antibiotics can be given to eradicate bacteria and prevent recurrence of symptoms. This medicine is also useful to prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the body and the transmission of this disease to other people. Even so, giving antibiotics will be more effective in the early weeks of infection.

Self care at home

In addition to taking antibiotics according to the doctor's prescription, patients are encouraged to do self-care at home to speed up healing. Some of the ways that can be done are:

  • Increase rest and drink enough water
  • Eat smaller portions, but more often
  • Maintain cleanliness and stay away from exposure to dust or cigarette smoke
  • Use a room humidifier
  • Cover your mouth and nose or use a mask when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands with running water and soap routinely

Patients can consume fever medicine and pain relievers, such as paracetamol, to relieve fever or sore throat, but with prior consultation with a doctor. It is important to remember, avoid giving pain relievers to children under 4-6 years of age.

Hospital treatment

Hospital treatment is required when whooping cough occurs in infants, children with a history of lung, heart, or nerve disease, and patients with severe symptoms. This is because those patients are more at risk of experiencing complications.

Hospital care can include:

  • Aspiration of mucus or phlegm from the respiratory tract
  • Giving oxygen through a breathing device, such as a mask or hose, especially when the patient has difficulty breathing
  • Placing the patient in an isolation room to prevent the spread of disease
  • Giving nutrition and fluids through infusion, especially if the patient is at risk of dehydration or has difficulty swallowing food

Complications of whooping cough

Whooping cough can cause a number of health complications in the form of:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bruised or cracked ribs
  • Nosebleeds and brain hemorrhages
  • Brain damage due to lack of oxygen
  • Rupture of blood vessels in the skin or eyes
  • Hernia in the stomach (hernia abdominalis)
  • Ear infections, such as otitis media
  • Lung and respiratory tract disorders in the future
  • Convulsions

Prevention of whooping cough

The best way to prevent whooping cough is to get a pertussis vaccination or immunization. This vaccine is usually given by a doctor or midwife together with the diphtheria, tetanus, and polio vaccine ( DTP vaccination ).

Basic immunization for DTP is given at 2, 3, and 4 months of age. However, if there are some factors that cause the baby to not be immunized, parents are advised to bring the child to catch up immunization according to the schedule given by the doctor.

Children are also recommended to do advanced immunization ( booster ) so that the benefits are more optimal. This immunization is done 4 times, namely at the age of 18 months, 5 years, 10-12 years, and 18 years. Booster immunization is also recommended to be repeated every 10 years.

Pregnant women are also recommended to do a booster vaccination at 27-36 weeks of pregnancy. Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy can protect babies from whooping cough in the early weeks of birth.

In addition to undergoing vaccination, also practice a clean and healthy lifestyle to increase the body's immunity.

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