Complications of whooping cough

Complications that can develop from whooping cough include lung infection (pneumonia), pulmonary hypertension, ear infections, seizures, weight loss, dehydration, or exertion-related injuries from severe coughing (such as cracked ribs or a hernia). When these complications are severe, they may require additional treatment or hospitalization. Pneumonia and other types of lung infections or problems may be treated with antibiotics, oxygen, and assisted ventilation.

Improved treatment procedures have made complications of whooping cough less threatening than in the past. But the disease and its complications remain a serious health issue, especially for children younger than 4 months of age. Adults ages 60 and older also are at increased risk for severe symptoms and complications.

Last Updated: January 3, 2010

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Christine Hahn, MD - Epidemiology

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