The sound of whooping cough without a whoop

Introduction to the site from Dr Doug Jenkinson

Symptoms (sounds and video)


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The sound file lasts just over 30 seconds and plays over and over until you leave this page. It will take about 20 seconds to download.

If your browser does not play the sound after waiting at least 2 minutes, try this link

This is a six year old girl with typical whooping cough. (But 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 then pauses and takes a breath in. She then has another attack of coughing. After several of these attacks, some more severe than others, it is usual to not cough again for an hour or more. (But it can range from 10 minutes to ten hours!)

There is a very quiet sound when she breaths in sometimes. This not quite a "whoop", but if it were louder it would be one.

Hear 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.

When you have finished listening, go back to symptoms and the sound will stop