Complications

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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

Infants

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

  • Pneumonia
  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Dehydration or weight loss due to feeding difficulties
  • 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 younger than 6 months old.

Jan. 15, 2015