What is Pertussis?


Pertussis can be hard to diagnose and potentially very serious when it affects children. But just what is pertussis? Here, Dr. Fish from Pacific Crest Children’s Urgent Care explains the what, why and how you can help your child.


Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough, is a serious and a very contagious disease in children. It is caused by a bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Symptoms of pertussis include trouble breathing, a severe cough that comes in waves and is often marked by the characteristic ‘whoop’ breathing noise between coughing fits. Generally, the younger the child the more dangerous this illness can be.

Symptoms of whooping Cough in babies
Treatment of whooping Cough in babies

Symptoms of Pertussis

  • Persistent coughing
  • A cough that won’t go away
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing fits with noisy, “whoop” sound while breathing between coughs
  • Coughing so hard that the child has difficulty getting a breath in afterwards
  • Fevers
  • Upper respiratory symptoms including runny nose, congestion, generally feeling unwell

Treating Pertussis

  • Whooping cough can be treated with an antibiotic if it is early enough in the course of the illness
  • Antibiotics are still given once the illness is identified even if past the treatment window (helps prevent spread to others)
  • A Whooping Cough shot (vaccine) exists and is the best way to prevent this illness
  • In severe cases, children will need to be in the hospital for monitoring and pertussis treatment

Diagnosing Pertussis

Whooping Cough in Babies

The only way to know for sure if your child has pertussis is through evaluation and testing. At Pacific Crest, we can test for pertussis and initiate the proper course of treatment in a friendly and time sensitive manner that won't have you waiting around. And, with costs 80% below an Emergency Room, you can rest easy knowing that your child is receiving the finest possible care at a fair, pocket-friendly price.