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A member asked:

What causes the whooping in whooping cough?

5 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bradley Berg
Specializes in Pediatrics
Can't catch breath: When a child has whooping cough he starts to cough and can't stop. As he continues to cough he loses his breath and when he finally stops coughing he takes a deep breath very fast. Since his throat is very small, the large amount of air moving very fast through the small airway creates a "whoop".
Dr. Scott Katz
Pediatrics 26 years experience
A sudden breath: Whooping cough is a potentially fatal but vaccine preventable illness, that is unfortuntunately becoming more commeon due to lower vaccination rates. The whoop is a very alarming sound, that occurs when the person is suddenly able to take a deep breath after a severe coughing fit, also known as a paroxysm. Older patients may actually feel as if they are suffocating during an attack.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
Inhaling strongly: After a coughing and coughing, a child will try to catch his breath by breathing in strongly. This forceful inhalation makes a whooping sound. Babies under 6 months may not whoop even if they have pertussis infection.
Dr. Paul Trani
Specializes in Pediatrics
Hypoxia: The 'whoop' in whooping cough is a forceful inhalation of air after a prolonged paroxysm of cough, often lasting longer than 120 sec. This coughing attack is severe, and can often result in not only hypoxia and apnea, but intra-ocular hemorrhage, abdominal or chest wall muscular sprains, and intercostal injuries. Imagine the first breath that you'd take after choking for 2 min. That's a 'whoop'.
Dr. Cory Annis
Internal Medicine and Pediatrics 29 years experience
Tiny pipe/big breath: The cough in whooping cough empties the lungs of air so completely that the breathe a child finally takes is huge, fast and forced over a tiny swollen airway. That's what makes it so loud.

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Similar questions

Mount Olive, NC
A 23-year-old female asked:

What is a whooping cough cause when i cough i wezz?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Laurence Fox
Specializes in Family Medicine
B. Pertussis: Bordatella Pertussis causes whooping cough. The condition comes on much like a common cold, usually with no fever. It takes about two weeks for the infection to settle into the lungs and cause the "whoop" Currently it is recommended that anyone with cold symptoms and cough longer than 7 days be considered to have possible Pertussis with testing and /or treatment. See your doctor
A member asked:

Which other health problems are caused by whooping cough?

2 doctor answers14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
Pediatrics 35 years experience
In unvaccinated...: In unvaccinated children, death and brain hemorrhage are likely possibilities (they cough so hard, they can exhaust their breathing muscles or burst a blood vessel in the brain). Even without complications, constant cough for 3 months is a highly unpleasant experience.
A 36-year-old member asked:

What pathogen causes whooping cough?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Diamond
Pediatrics 46 years experience
B.Pertussis: Classic whooping cough is caused by a bacterium, bordatella pertussis.Similar symptoms can be caused by otheragents such as a virus parapertussis and adenovirus.
A 20-year-old member asked:

What is whooping cough?

3 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Pertussis: A godawful disease that was once part of almost every childhood. Before antibiotics and immunizations, expect 4-8 weeks of constant coughing, so bad one must "whoop" to get in enough air between coughs. Children choked to death or died of ruptured veins in the brain. It's still very much around, kills youngsters and can affect adults whose immunizations have worn off.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016
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