Persistent coughing is the most common symptom of whooping cough in an adult, according to Mayo Clinic. Other possible symptoms include those similar to the common cold such as a runny nose, irritated and watery eyes, fever, and nasal congestion.
One to two weeks after infection, the symptoms of whooping cough can intensify, with coughing bouts causing vomiting, red or blue discoloration of the face, extreme tiredness, breathing difficulties, and a high-pitched breathing noise characteristic of the disease, according to Mayo Clinic.
Coughing episodes can last up to a minute and produce a dry sound not accompanied by mucus, which manifests between one week and 10 days after infection, as explained by WebMD. Additional possible symptoms include diarrhea and sneezing, both occurring at an earlier stage of infection. Doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat the early symptoms of whooping cough. Antibiotics are less effective after the initial infection occurs. Depending on treatment, patients may experience symptoms for three to six weeks.
In some cases, coughing from whooping cough can last up to 10 weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recovery from whooping cough can take between one and two weeks, during which coughing fits occur less frequently.