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Understanding Whooping Cough

The Hyfe Mind


February 1, 2021
CoughPro is not a medical product. It is a wellness app intended only for users to obtain a better understanding of their cough. It is not intended to diagnose, monitor, or treat any illness.

We at Hyfe, Inc., are a company devoted to working on tools to better understand the importance of cough. It is Hyfe’s intention in the future to seek regulatory approval for medical products that analyze cough in order that they may be used to diagnose, monitor, and facilitate better treatment of respiratory illnesses.

Elderly man coughing while cover his mouth with his hand

Whooping cough gets its name from the “whoop” sound that comes with the cough. This is a characteristic sound for this type of cough. It manifests as a loud coughing spell with intervals of deep inhalation, the whoop.

What Causes Whooping Cough?

The primary cause of whooping cough is an airway infection by a bacteria known as Bordetella pertussis. While it is frequently associated with this infectious source, it is not uncommon for other respiratory infections to develop whooping cough.

Whooping cough is commonly prevalent among infants and children whose immunities are still getting accustomed to the environment around them. Additionally, those who have never received the vaccination against pertussis are at a higher risk.

Classic whooping cough scarcely occurs among adults, primarily because most have received the vaccination and its follow-up booster shots. However, adults whose immunity has waned are likely to develop this condition.

How Would I Recognize a Whooping Cough?

A girl lying in bed wiping her nose

Signs of underlying infection are not apparent until a week to ten days following bacterial infection. The first stages of the disease resemble the common cold:

  • Mild fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Slight difficulty in breathing
  • Mild cough

After this phase, the characteristically sounding cough occurs. Infected individuals typically have coughing bouts lasting about a minute, which generally end with the resounding “whoop.” These spells can occur together and throughout intervals in the day.

The Clinical Course

A 3D x-ray of the human lungs

Based on the division on the appearance of the signs of whooping cough, there are three phases of the disease process.

  • Catarrhal phase: This is the initial phase where the patient has a runny nose, fever, experiences fatigue, and has a mild cough. This phase lasts for a week to ten days.
  • Paroxysmal phase: The second phase manifests characteristic intense episodes of coughing. While the cough is dry, it is common to observe thick mucus release during some paroxysms during a whooping attack. This stage can last anywhere from one to six weeks based on whether the patient receives treatment.

Convalescent phase: This is the recovery phase. It may still include bouts of cough. This is usually mild when compared to classic whooping cough. Medications can help reach this stage quicker. It is possible to be in the convalescent phase for months.

How is Whooping Cough Managed?

It is essential to identify underlying pertussis early due to its ability to spread relatively easily. Since sneezing and coughing are some of the presenting signs, infection spread occurs before the actual cough presents itself.

Early diagnosis can also enable early treatment, which can help prevent serious complications such as pneumonia, dehydration, seizures, hernias, and bruising/cracking of the ribs.
Most trained clinicians can diagnose whooping cough just by registering the patient’s history and the sound of the cough. A healthcare professional will take a nose or throat swab to confirm the diagnosis in most cases. Infants and children could need hospitalization due to the severe course pertussis infection might take. Adults receive a course of antibiotics which often help improve symptoms immediately.

Preventing The Whooping Cough

Severe infection with Bordetella pertussis is preventable through the DPT vaccine. This immunization is often why severe illness mainly occurs among children and babies. Adults who do not receive their booster shots are at a higher risk of severe infection.

Adults should track their symptoms as soon as they start. It is also helpful to record the sound of your cough. This data might help with an early diagnosis. Moreover, it can enable teleconsultation to initiate antibiotic management. 

Watch this video to know what this cough sounds like:

Your Cough Matters

Based on our results in Google Play & App Store
  • Excellent, insightful
    By dust mite dan - Apr 7, 2023 - App Store
    This app is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing and has provided me with useful information about my cough and disease patterns that have improved my overall health!

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    by Imtfx0019 — Dec 6, 2022 - App Store
    Impressed with how well it detected my coughs, even very slight ones.
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  • App is Great!
    by HBert Quach — Jan 22, 2023, - Google Play
    App is great at tracking cough when little ones are sick. I treat it as a early warning indicator before the cold gets back. Customer service is awesome, they actually respond to all my questions.
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  • Great Experience
    by Christi Hammock — Mar 7, 2023, - Google Play

    I had an issue logging into the new app but I contacted the support team and they were awesome in helping me figure out the issue. It turned out to be a technical issue which they resolved very quickly and I was kept in the loop on the status from start to finish. This app is really helpful when talking to my doctor too..
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  • Impressive app
    By KayakTina - Apr 7, 2023 - App Store
    "The app accurately is recording my coughs with excellent ways to review the results. I can add notes to help me identify patterns or have accurate information for my physicians. I’ve hoped for an app like this for years to help me accurately track the amount of coughing I’m doing"
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  • Accurate count of coughs
    by Beardonna — Mar 8, 2023 - App Store

    Just installed the app. Very accurate measuring coughs so far! Cannot wait to see how much coughing I do while sleeping. I'll have a better picture to discuss with my physician at my next visit.

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