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Pertussis Cough Examples

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Listen to Pertussis Cough

Pertussis Cough Example #1: (.mp3, :36)
This is a six year old girl with typical whooping cough. She does not whoop.......which is quite typical! Only about 50% of cases ever whoop. You hear her coughing and coughing without breathing in, until her lungs are empty. She pauses and takes a breath in. Then she has another attack of coughing. After several of these attacks, some more severe than others, it is usual not to cough again for an hour or more. (It can range from 10 minutes to ten hours!) There is a very quiet sound when she breaths in sometimes. This is not quite a "whoop", but if it were louder it would be one. Listen to how she is almost at the point of vomiting after a paroxysm. Notice also that there is a slight pause between the end of a coughing bout and taking a breath in. In severe whooping cough, the delay can last 15 to 20 seconds. The patient goes blue and feels as if he/she is suffocating. This is one of the reasons it is so dangerous in young babies (they sometimes do not start again). Adults who experience this inability to breathe (technically known as apnea) say they feel as if they have forgotten how to breathe and find it terrifying.

Pertussis Cough Example #2: (.mp3, :15)
This is a young girl with whooping cough. You can hear her paroxysmal cough first without a whoop. Then you hear two more paroxysms, both followed by the distinctive whooping sound. It is the noise of breathing in, and comes from the larynx (voice box).

Pertussis Cough Example #3: (.mp3, :26)
This is a 3 year old girl with whooping cough. It is severe and fully developed. She only coughs like this five or six times a day. She coughs until her lungs are empty of air and then you hear several whoops, one after the other, as she tries to take a breath in. She frequently finishes an attack with vomiting.

Sounds reproduced with permission. Dr. Doug Jenkinson, Nottingham, England
Link to domain outside of TDH.Dr J's Whooping Cough Information

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Last updated March 11, 2011