Whooping cough (pertussis), also known as the 100-day cough, is a bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes, according to the National Health Service ( NHS).

Spreading very easily, the infection can lead to serious problems.

As a result, the NHS regularly urges the public to get their babies and children vaccinated against it.

What causes the 100 day cough?

Whooping cough is spread in the droplets of the coughs or sneezes of someone with the infection.

In other words, you can get Whooping cough after coming into close contact with someone who has it.

What are the first signs of Whooping cough?

The NHS notes that the first symptoms of Whooping cough often appear like a cold.

These include a runny nose and a sore throat – but you should note that a high temperature is uncommon.

The health service then advises that after a week, the symptoms evolve into coughing bouts which last for a few minutes and are usually worse at night.

Other tell-tale signs include a “whoop” sound which can be heard in the gasp for air between coughs. This is more prevalent among babies rather than adults.

The coughing could also cause some difficulty breathing as well as some thick mucus which can make you vomit.

Babies and children may turn grey or blue after coughing.

Meanwhile, adults are most likely to go red in the face.

The NHS says that the cough can last for several weeks or months.

For more information and guidance, visit the NHS website.

Can adults get Whopping cough?

Yes, people of all ages can develop the 100-day cough.

You can also get Whooping cough if you are an older child or an adult because neither vaccination nor infection can provide lifelong immunity.

Although it’s typically less serious amongst adults, Whopping cough can still be very unpleasant.

Young babies under 6 months have a particularly increased risk of whooping cough complications.

Hampshire Chronicle: The NHS says that the cough can last for several weeks or months. ( Getty Images)The NHS says that the cough can last for several weeks or months. ( Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

When should I go to a GP or call NHS 111?


The NHS says that you make an urgent GP appointment or seek help from NHS 111 in the following situations:

  • your baby is under 6 months old and has symptoms of whooping cough
  • you or your child have a very bad cough that is getting worse
  • you’ve been in contact with someone with whooping cough and you’re pregnant
  • you or your child has been in contact with someone with whooping cough and have a weakened immune system

The health service also noted that since Whooping cough can spread very easily, it is best to call the GP before you go in.

The medical professionals may suggest talking over the phone instead.

How is Whopping Cough treated?

The NHS has advised that treatment for whooping cough depends on what are you and how long you’ve been infected.

If you have severe whooping cough, or your baby is under 6 months old and has whooping cough then hospital treatment is usually needed.

The health service added: “If whooping cough is diagnosed within 3 weeks of the infection, you’ll be given antibiotics to help stop it spreading to others. Antibiotics may not reduce symptoms.


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“If you’ve had whooping cough for more than 3 weeks, you’re no longer contagious and do not need antibiotics”.

How long is the 100-day cough contagious? 

The health experts have explained that if you have whooping cough, you’re contagious from about 6 days after the start of cold-like symptoms to 3 weeks after the coughing starts.

If within three weeks of starting to cough, you start antibiotics then you will reduce the time you’re contagious.



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