Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Pertussis Treatment

General treatment for whooping cough includes antibiotics and medications for wheezing. Because whooping cough tends to cause serious symptoms in infants, most infants are admitted to the hospital for treatment. If possible, treatment should started prior to the development of coughing spasms.

Specific treatment for whooping cough may include:


Family members may also receive antibiotics, in order to prevent the spread of whooping cough.

Pertussis Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of whooping cough.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • Am I contagious?
    • For how long?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?
  • How do I avoid passing the infection to others?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • What can I do to reduce my risk for having whooping cough again?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Pertussis Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat whooping cough:

Continue to Pertussis Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 9, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Pertussis References
  1. Altunaiji S, Kukuruzovic R, Curtis N, Massie J. Antibiotics for whooping cough (pertussis). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Jan 25;(1):CD004404. [15674946]
  2. Pillay V, Swingler G. Symptomatic treatment of the cough in whooping cough. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(4):CD003257. [14583962]
  3. Watanabe M, Nagai M. Whooping cough due to Bordetella parapertussis: an unresolved problem. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2004 Jun;2(3):447-54. [15482209]
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