Advertisement

How is whooping cough (pertussis) treated?

James D. Cherry, MD
Pediatrics
A child who has whooping cough (pertussis) will need plenty of fluids to drink and specific antibiotics. Early diagnosis of pertussis (whooping cough) in both children and adults is important because the illness can be shortened by specific medications. Young infants with pertussis will usually require hospital admission, often in a pediatric intensive care unit. 

In addition to making sure their child gets the proper care, parents should be vigilant about making sure their child does not spread it to other children. It is also important that doctors do a better job of recognizing and treating pertussis and that everyone (children, adolescents and adults) gets vaccinated.
There are several treatment options for whooping cough. Most mild cases of whooping cough in adults are treated with antibiotics. Due to the increased mortality risk, most infants with whooping cough are hospitalized in an isolated unit and given IV fluids and sedatives. Babies with a severe case of whooping cough may require a tube in their windpipe to help them breathe. Secretions in the lungs may be suctioned out. Some people need additional oxygen.

Continue Learning about Whooping Cough

How to Protect Your Family From Whooping Cough
How to Protect Your Family From Whooping Cough
The Whooping Crane is an endangered species—about 400 of these noisy, five-foot tall birds are left in North America. If only whooping cough—that’s pe...
Read More
When should adults get a booster shot for pertussis (whooping cough)?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Adults 19 years of age and older who didn't get Tdap as a preteen or teen should get one dose of Tda...
More Answers
When should I call the doctor about my child’s cough?
James FortenberryJames Fortenberry
 Call 911 or your local ambulance service right away if your child:Is so tired and weak that he hard...
More Answers
How Effective Are Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Vaccines?
How Effective Are Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Vaccines?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.