Whooping Cough - How to Identify and Treat It


Are you worried your child might have ‘whooping cough?’  Dr. Fish of Pacific Crest Children’s Urgent Care explains what it is, what to look for, and treatment options.


Whooping Cough, or Pertussis, is a serious illness in children. It is caused by a bacteria, Bordetella pertussis. Symptoms of whooping cough 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
Whooping Cough Treatment

Symptoms of Whooping Cough

  • 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

Whooping Cough Treatment

  • 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 Whooping Cough

Whooping Cough - How to identify and treat it, by Portland's Pacific Crest Children's Urgent Care

The only way to know for sure if your child has whooping cough is to get them evaluated and tested. At Pacific Crest, we can test for pertussis and initiate the proper course of treatment in a friendly and efficient environment, with prices 80% less than an Emergency Room.