Pertussis, or the cough known as “whooping cough”, is easier to detect in children than adults, so often adults can suffer from Pertussis without realizing the cause behind their chronic cough. Here are the warning signs of Pertussis in adults.
Pertussis is highly contagious, and there are vaccines available to prevent getting the whooping cough. Many adults, however, have not been vaccinated and can get Pertussis without realizing it. Pertussis is typically diagnosed with the same symptoms as a cold, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and low-grade fever. Coughing spells that last for a minute or more with the characteristic “whooping” sound while coughing or breathing in are the main signs of Pertussis. In adults, the cough is more of a dry hacking sound that usually doesn’t have that telltale whooping sound so common in kids. A cough that lasts more than 2 weeks is usually the most common sign that the symptoms may be Pertussis, along with diarrhea and vomiting after coughing from a coughing spell.
Pertussis vaccines are usually given in a cocktail along with the Tetanus vaccine, so if you have received a Tetanus shot since 2005, which is usually administered as a “Tdap” cocktail for adults and adolescents(protection against tetanus, diphtheria, and Pertussis) you are likely vaccinated against Pertussis, which can be fatal to small children and lead to other dangerous ailments, like pneumonia. If you haven’t received a booster in the last 5 years, you may be susceptible to Pertussis, which is very contagious.
Pertussis usually incubates from 7 to 21 days after being exposed to the infection, and takes a series of antibiotics to knock out entirely. If you are coughing severely for more than 2 weeks, have a low-grade fever, diarrhea, or dizzy spells in accompaniment with your coughing, then Pertussis may be to blame. In order to know for sure and to treat your symptoms that just won’t go away, it’s best to see your doctor to rule out bronchitis, walking pneumonia, or Pertussis as the cause of your chronic cough and other illness symptoms to make sure that you can get on the way to health. Otherwise, Pertussis in adults can cause you to just cough and cough for months without finding relief, no matter what you do.