Whooping cough or pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects the lungs and airways of an individual. The infection begins with a dry and irritating cough and reaches a stage where you have intense bouts of coughing. The "whooping" noise occurs due to the gasping for breath after one coughing bout. A runny nose, vomiting after the cough, and raised temperatures are the other symptoms of this condition. You need to see your GP as soon as you think that a member in your family has a whooping cough. If not, the cough can last for about three months at a stretch. The GP is able to diagnose the condition by looking at the symptoms or listening to the noise of your coughing.
The condition is caused by a bacterium named Bordetella pertussis. The bacteria will infect the lining of the airways and lungs. If the cough is diagnosed within the first 21 days, a course of antibiotics will do the trick. It is important to prevent the condition from spreading to others. Resting and drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration is also important.