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FAQ

What are the symptoms and complications of whooping cough?

Page last updated 11 December 2018

If you are exposed to whooping cough – and your immunity is low – you would typically develop symptoms within 5 to 10 days.

Whooping cough often begins like a cold. In a typical case, your symptoms might include:

  • a blocked or runny nose
  • sneezing
  • mild fever
  • a cough
     

Complications of whooping cough are usually less serious in adults, especially if you have been vaccinated. In one study, the most common complications reported were:

  • weight loss in 1 out of 3 adults
  • loss of bladder control in 1 out of 4 adults
  • passing out in 3 out of 50 adults
  • rib fracture from severe coughing in 1 out of 25 adults

Sources & Citations

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/faqs.html
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/signs-symptoms.html
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/clinical/complications.html