How to Treat Whooping Cough at Home

Struggling to find relief from whooping cough? You don’t have to suffer in silence. This article provides helpful tips and tricks to naturally reduce symptoms and provide comfort at home.

Quick facts: Treating Whooping Cough At Home

  • ✅ In spite of better medical treatments and awareness, whooping cough is still a major cause of infant mortality, with an estimated 191,000 deaths a year (WHO, 2019). Source: WHO
  • ✅ Most classic home remedies for whooping cough are not evidence-based and can worsen the symptoms (MedlinePlus, 2019). Source: MedlinePlus
  • ✅ Honey has been used in traditional medicine as a cough suppressant, but there is limited evidence to support its use (Coughlan, 2020). Source: Coughlan
  • ✅ Research shows that early diagnosis and prompt treatment is important for reducing the risk of complications and long-term effects of whooping cough (NHS, 2020). Source: NHS
  • ✅ The introduction of the pertussis vaccine has reduced the incidence of whooping cough in the US from 150,000 cases in the 1940s to 15,000 cases in 2016 (CDC, 2017). Source: CDC


Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that can be very serious for infants. Characterized by uncontrollable coughing fits with a “whoop” sound upon inhalation, whooping cough is caused by the pertussis bacteria and is spread through airborne droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. While adults may experience milder symptoms, such as runny nose and sore throat, infants are at risk of experiencing severe coughing fits which can cause difficulty breathing, poor feeding and dehydration. If you are looking for ways to treat dry cough at home, read on for some tips.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to treat whooping cough at home and reduce the symptoms of this condition.

It is important to note that some cases of whooping cough should not be treated at home but require medical attention from your doctor. Before attempting any home treatments for whooping cough it is important you seek medical advice to ensure it is safe to treat the condition at home.

Assess the Severity of the Cough

When it comes to treating whooping cough at home, it’s important to assess the severity of the cough in order to determine the best course of action. Mild cases of whooping cough can usually be treated at home with medications and home remedies. More serious cases, however, should be treated by a doctor. In this article, we’ll focus on how to assess the severity of the cough.

Monitor your breathing

Monitoring your breathing when treating whooping cough at home is an important step in assessing the severity of the cough. This includes monitoring the rate and depth of each breath, as well as any episodes of apnea, or temporarily stopping breathing. Signs of increased severity include faster or deeper breaths, or a decrease in your oxygen saturation levels.

If you are struggling to take a full deep breath, or if your heart rate increases excessively after coughing episodes, this is a sign that medical help should be sought out immediately. Additionally, be aware and monitor for signs of infection such as fever, rash and excessive discharge from the nose.

Monitor your temperature

When assessing the severity of a whooping cough, one thing you should do is monitor your temperature. It is important to monitor your temperature for two reasons: it helps you and your doctor determine if the whooping cough is bacterial or viral, and it can alert you to any underlying infections.

A fever is an indication that there may be an infection and antibiotics may need to be prescribed. If your temperature stays under 100°F (37.8°C), it could indicate a viral infection, such as the common cold or whooping cough. It can also help track the course of the virus – a fever that persists for more than three days could mean a bacterial infection, in which case antibiotics will likely be prescribed. Keeping track of how long the fever lasts and how high it goes will help you determine if additional medical attention should be sought out if needed.

Note any other symptoms

When assessing the severity of a cough, it is important to look out for any other symptoms that may be present. These could include a runny nose, sneezing, fever, chest pain or difficulty breathing. If your child has any of these symptoms in addition to a persistent cough, they may need medical attention right away.

Other less common but more serious signs of whooping cough to consider include vomiting after coughing or turning blue during a coughing spell. If you see any of these signs and symptoms in addition to the persistent cough, you should seek urgent medical help.

Taking note of any additional symptoms can help you determine the severity and seriousness of your child’s condition and decide whether or not further medical assistance is needed:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting after coughing
  • Turning blue during a coughing spell

Treat the Symptoms

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is an infectious respiratory disease caused by bacteria. Treating the symptoms of whooping cough is the first step in managing the disease.

Common symptoms of whooping cough include:

  • Coughing spasms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A loud “whooping” sound when you inhale.

Let’s discuss how to treat these symptoms at home.

Take a cough suppressant

Taking a cough suppressant can help to reduce the severity and frequency of coughing fits associated with whooping cough. Cough suppressants are available over-the-counter at numerous local pharmacies. It is important to note that these medications do not treat the infection, but instead, they help to ease symptoms. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which cough suppressant might be most effective for your particular symptoms and health profile.

Additionally, if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, or an increase in coughing intensity or frequency while taking a cough suppressant, contact your doctor immediately as these could be signs of a more serious condition.

Use a humidifier

The use of a humidifier when suffering from whooping cough can provide additional relief by helping keep the throat moist, which helps reduce coughing fits. This is especially important in cases where the air is dry or particularly cold. Many types of humidifiers are available, ranging in size and effectiveness; however cool mist humidifiers are often most helpful in treating whooping cough.

Consider adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water tank in order to open up your lungs and provide additional relief. In addition to this you could also add a drop or two of peppermint oil, as it has antispasmodic properties that can help ease the symptoms of coughing fits.

Drink plenty of fluids

It is important to stay hydrated if you are suffering from whooping cough (pertussis) as it can reduce the severity and frequency of coughing fits. Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep your throat moist, making it easier to cough up the mucus which collects in your chest and throat. Fluids also help loosen mucus and flush out toxins, making it easier for you to relieve the symptoms.

Examples of fluids that you can drink include:

  • Water
  • Herbal teas
  • Freshly squeezed juices
  • Broth or soups

Additionally, consuming foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits or green leafy vegetables may also help boost the immune system to fight off infection and speed up recovery.

Seek Medical Assistance

Whooping cough, medically known as pertussis, is a severe bacterial infection of the respiratory system that can be serious and potentially fatal for a person of any age, especially for infants.

It is therefore important to seek medical assistance if you are experiencing symptoms of whooping cough, such as

  • uncontrollable coughing fits
  • difficulty breathing
  • sudden loss of breath

Contact your doctor

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with whooping cough, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible. While it is possible to treat the symptoms of whooping cough at home, medical assistance is absolutely necessary in order to fully recover from the infection.

Your doctor can provide you with a diagnosis and help you determine the best course of treatment for the condition. Antibiotics may be prescribed in order to clear the infection and reduce symptom severity. Your doctor may also suggest taking over-the-counter medications for cough relief or additional support for managing any other related symptoms. Additionally, if needed, your doctor may refer you to an immunologist or specialist for further evaluation and treatment.

It’s important to follow all medical advice provided by your healthcare provider in order to ensure a successful recovery from whooping cough.

Consider antibiotics

In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you take antibiotics to treat whooping cough. Antibiotics work by killing off the bacteria that is causing the infection. Therefore, if you are prescribed antibiotics, it is important to take them as directed by your doctor and finish all of the medication. If you do not complete your full course of antibiotics, the infection can persist and cause further health complications.

In some cases, you may need booster doses of antibiotics to ensure that all bacteria has been eliminated from your body. Be sure to check in with your doctor during this time to monitor any side effects and adjust dosage accordingly if needed.


Preventing whooping cough is easier than treating it. To protect yourself, you should get vaccinated against whooping cough and make sure to keep up with your booster shots. Other preventive measures include avoiding contact with people who are infected, covering your mouth when you cough, and washing your hands regularly.

Let’s explore further preventive methods:

Get vaccinated

Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent whooping cough. The bacteria that cause whooping cough are highly contagious, so being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.

The vaccines used in the United States protect against 3 types of bacteria that can cause whooping cough. Immunization is recommended for all children starting at two months old, adolescents 11-18 years of age, and adults 19 years of age or older, as well as pregnant women during their third trimester. Vaccines may be given as a combination shot with other childhood vaccines such as measles and chicken pox or in separate injections. Getting vaccinated can help reduce the spread of disease and protect vulnerable populations such as infants and young children who may not yet be old enough to receive vaccination themselves.

Practice good hygiene

Practicing good hygiene is an essential part of preventing and controlling the spread of whooping cough (pertussis). Good hygiene habits such as regularly washing your hands, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and avoiding contact with people who are sick can help to keep the virus from spreading.

If you or a family member are infected, remember to stay home until you recover. It’s also important to cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when you sneeze or cough. Dispose of used tissues promptly. Additionally, disinfecting surfaces that may be contaminated with germs can help reduce the risk of infection. When cleaning, make sure to use products specifically designed to kill pertussis bacteria or other bacteria that cause illness.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick

When it comes to how to treat whooping cough at home, the most important preventative measure is avoiding close contact with people who are sick. This is especially important if you know that someone has a contagious disease, such as whooping cough. Even if the person does not yet show any symptoms, the bacteria can still spread through close contact.

To avoid contracting or spreading whooping cough, keep your distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing and do not share any personal items – such as drinks, utensils, towels – with them. Additionally, wash your hands often and practice good hygiene. By following these guidelines, you can minimize your risk of coming into contact with the virus and help prevent its spread.

FAQs about: Treating Whooping Cough At Home

Q: What are the first steps for treating whooping cough at home?

A: The first step for treating whooping cough at home is to make sure you get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. It is also important to keep the mucus membranes moist with a cool mist humidifier, saltwater nose drops, or steam inhalation therapy. If you are coughing up mucus, gargling with warm salt water or using a saline nasal spray can help to loosen it.

Q: What medications can be used to treat whooping cough at home?

A: Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and cough suppressants can be used to help treat whooping cough at home. It is important to speak with your doctor before beginning any medication to make sure it is safe and appropriate for your condition. Additionally, your doctor may recommend a course of antibiotics to help reduce the severity of symptoms.

Q: How long does it take for whooping cough to go away?

A: The duration of whooping cough can vary, but typically it can take up to 6 weeks for symptoms to completely resolve. Treatment may help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms, so it is important to get proper medical care and follow the advice of your doctor.

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