Most people recover from whooping cough with no problems. When complications occur, they tend to be side effects of the strenuous coughing, such as:

  • Bruised or cracked ribs
  • Abdominal hernias
  • Broken blood vessels in the skin or the whites of your eyes

Infants

In infants — especially those under 6 months of age — complications from whooping cough are more severe and may include:

  • Ear infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures
  • Brain damage

Because infants and toddlers are at greatest risk of complications from whooping cough, they're more likely to need treatment in a hospital. Complications can be life-threatening for infants less than 6 months old.

Mar. 19, 2013