ZocdocAnswersDo I have whooping cough?

Question

Do I have whooping cough?

If my cough won't go away does that mean that I have whooping cough. I would say the cough has been there for around three weeks and it is very dry and it is starting to become a problem with my work and school because I am just coughing all of the time.

Answer

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is caused by a bacterial infection of the nose and throat and airways. Symptoms of pertussis include a very severe, very chronic cough. Although in the United States we are all vaccinated against pertussis as children, in adulthood the immunity from the vaccine tends to wane away. For this reason, most adults are now receiving booster vaccinations against pertussis. However, coverage with this booster is not complete and, if you did not receive one at some point then you could potentially be at risk from pertussis. There are also multiple other causes of chronic severe cough that need to be considered. The include sinus infections or sinus congestion, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma, among others. I suggest that you go to see your primary care doctor for an evaluation as soon as possible. Any persistent cough needs to be evaluated quickly, to make sure that one of these underlying conditions is not present. In particular, if there is any chance you might have pertussis or another contagious illness, it is important to get evaluated, not just so that you can start to feel better, but also so that the spread of the illness to other people can be prevented.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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