Teens and adults often 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
In infants — especially those under 6 months of age — complications from whooping cough are more severe and may include:
- Slowed or stopped breathing
- Dehydration or weight loss due to feeding difficulties
- 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 younger than 6 months old.
Jan. 15, 2015
- Pertussis frequently asked questions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/faqs.html. Accessed Dec. 23, 2014.
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- Cornia P, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of Bordetella pertussis infections in adolescents and adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 23, 2014.
- Jakinovich A, et al. Pertussis: Still a cause of death, seven decades into vaccination. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2014;26:597.
- Yeh S. et al. Bordetella pertussis infection in infants and children: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 23, 2014.
- Yeh S, et al. Bordetella pertussis infection in infants and children: Treatment and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 23, 2014.
- Kline JM, et al. Pertussis: A reemerging infection. American Family Physician. 2013;88:507.
- Tdap vaccine — What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/tdap.html. Accessed Dec. 23, 2014.
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